USCCA Expo: Self-Defense Law Class, Free Books, & Book Signing


Well, today's the final day of the USCCA Expo 2016. Yesterday morning I conducted a brief (45 minute) class on self-defense law (naturally). It was pretty well attended, and folks told me throughout the day that they really enjoyed it, so that's nice. With about 10 minutes before the class start time we'd squeezed over 100 people into the room. I later learned the official maximum capacity of the room is 30. Oops.

USCCA Expo SRO 4-30-16 (1)

Even after we'd completely run out of room to put extra chairs, folks still "attended" by standing in the doorways and out in the hall.


We are making the presentation slide deck from this talk available for order, and there we describe the talk as follows:

After numerous requests we are making the slides from this presentation available for order, and we describe the talk and slide deck as follows:

The presentation addressed the apparent paradox that while self-defense law is actually relatively simple, at the same time not easy.

Simple, because there are only five elements to any self-defense claim: innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance and reasonableness.

Not easy, because the hidden traps that can emerge from the interplay of these five elements, if not avoided, can result in spending the rest of your life in jail. And the only way to confidently avoid these traps is to understand self-defense law at a sufficiently high level that the traps that once were hidden or hard to see are now obvious to you.

Learning self-defense law at a sufficiently high level is within the capabilities of just about anybody, but it does take some disciplined effort and resources.

Through the course of the presentation we discuss the five elements of the law of self-defense, we cover some of the nuts-and-bolts of the criminal justice process, and then proceed to step through various scenarios to illustrate how easily a merely superficial understanding of self-defense law can result in the complete loss of self-defense.

Subjects discussed include: self-defense as a legal defense, the trial process, the elements of the criminal charge of murder, self-defense as a “confession”, how avoidance remains a relevant element even in Stand-Your-Ground states, regaining your innocence, distinguishing between an aggressor and a provoker, how to pick a qualified attorney, and more.

The presentation was 45 minutes long, and the slide deck consists of 62 slides. The document you can order here are those slides, printed 6-to-a-page in black-and-white, and stapled.

If that's sounds interesting, you can order the slide deck by clicking here.

Immediately after the class USCCA had arranged for a big book signing, in which they gave away 150 free copies of the just released "The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition."

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 8.57.57 AM

I used my fancy new custom (to my specifications) pen to do the signing, and it worked great and drew numerous compliments.  I obtained the pen from Jeremiah Hix.  It both arrived in a timely fashion and was far less expensive than fancy commercial pens such as Montblanc.  He does many fountain pens, but I've found that fountain pens don't play well with air travel, so I choose a rollerball. It writes beautifully.  Jeremiah does all kinds of high quality carpentry, not just pens. Highly recommended.


This 3rd Edition of the book is being sold by both USCCA and myself, although with different covers. For some reason, USCCA removed the "3rd Edition" phrase from their cover (which is fine, although it seems likely to foster confusion with the 2nd Edition), but I can assure you it's substantively the same book.  The only difference between the two is that for the USCCA version their President, Tim Schmidt, wrote the foreword, and for my version of the book Massad Ayoob, founder of the Massad Ayoob Group, was kind enough to write the foreword.  Thanks, Mas!


On a personal note, during the book signing an old college friend showed up, Bill T.  Haven't seen him since about 1987, up at what was then called SUNY-Binghamton, where we both did undergrad.  Great guy, just retired from a career in law enforcement.  The shooting community: simultaneously huge and yet small.  Nice seeing you, Bill! Keep in touch, brother.

Bill Trivelpiece USCCA Expo 4-30-16 blog post

After my book signing there was another signing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who had given a great talk earlier in the day, so I got to hang out with him for a while. Colonel Grossman is best known as the author of On Killing, and many other books on the psychology of violence.  He was kind enough to give me a complementary autographed copy of his book On Combat, to which I awkwardly couldn't immediately return the favor because we'd exhausted the supply of my book.  Don't worry, Colonel, I'll mail you one tomorrow! :-)

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Dave Grossman autograph

Wrapped up the day with the USCCA Fashion Show in the company of firearms training genius George Harris, of International Firearms Consultants, followed by drinks afterwards with a few folks. Fun was had by all. :-)  Photos of the fashion show can be found on David Yamane's excellent blog, Gun Culture 2.0.  (David is also the source for the first three photos in this blog post.)

Yesterday I was pretty tied down with my own class and the book signing, so I couldn't attend most of the classes given (except for a portion of Col. Grossman's class).  Today I'm free, however, so I'll check into as many of the classes as I can, and may be making a cameo appearance in George Harris' talk.

OK, that's all, folks.  Later.

Quick update from second day, not much to write, but a couple of pics.

Standing with Mike Hughes, of Hot Shot fame and the founder of Next Level Training. As do many others, we use his SIRT pistols in our Law of Self Defense Simulator exercises.

Mike Hughes USCCA Expo 2016

Standing with Tim Schmidt, President of USCCA, who was kind enough to write the foreword to the USCCA-version of "The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition."

Tim Schmidt USCCA Expo 2016

Thanks again for having me at the USCCA Expo 2016, Tim, it was great fun!