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Author: Andrew Branca

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Andrew Branca

Andrew F. Branca is in his third decade of practicing law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He wrote the first edition of the "Law of Self Defense" in 1997, and is currently in the process of completing the fully revised and updated second edition, which you can preorder now at He began his competitive shooting activities as a youth in smallbore rifle, and today is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a Life Member and Master-class competitor in multiple classifications in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). Andrew has for many years been an NRA-certified firearms instructor in pistol, rifle, and personal protection, and has previously served as an Adjunct Instructor on the Law of Self Defense at the SigSauer Academy in Epping, NH. He holds or has held concealed carry permits for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, Virginia, and other states.

Hey folks, Welcome to our ongoing Law of Self Defense coverage of the criminal trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. As you all know, Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with a number of crimes for his conduct in Kenosha WI on the night of August 25, 2020, amidst violent rioting in the city fomented by elements of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and sympathizers of those groups. Most of the charges against Rittenhouse are serious felonies, including the charge of first-degree reckless homicide for the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum, first-degree intentional homicide for the killing of Anthony Huber, attempted first-degree homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz, and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

I’ve been receiving a virtual tsunami of requests to do a use of force legal analysis of the shooting death of January 6 protestor Ashli Babbitt by Capit0l Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd as Babbitt appeared to be attempting to violently breach the barricaded doorway being guarded by Byrd. In fact, I did a detailed legal analysis of this shooting only days after it occurred—"Capitol Hill Shooting of Ashli Babbitt:  Murder or Justified?” (Jan. 12, 2021)—although as with most of our Law of Self Defense content, access to that analysis was restricted to Law of Self Defense Members, who had the benefit of that analysis almost 8 months ago. The last few days have seen a resurgence in requests for such a legal analysis of the Babbitt shooting, presumably as a result of two events.  First, the August 28 interview of Lt. Byrd by NBC News Correspondent Lester Holt:  “Extended Interview: Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd Speaks Out.” Second, an opinion piece on that interview published at The Hill by prominent legal expert Jonathan Turley:  “Justified shooting or fair game? Shooter of Ashli Babbitt makes shocking admission.” So, with those two additional pieces of information and opinion tossed into the legal discussion of the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt it seems an appropriate time to re-visit our legal analysis of that tragic event.  (Fair warning to Law of Self Defense Members—much of this content is re-packaged from our January 12 analysis to which you’ve already had access.)
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