Guest speaker creates controversy at Campbell Law School


The guest speaker was an expert on guns and self-defense law, but his Twitter feed has raised some eyebrows because of comments he made about Trayvon Martin.

For his part, Andrew Branca says he is not interested in the broader issue of how race plays into the justice system. He just wants to talk about the law. Yet, it is his Twitter account that had some questioning why he was invited to Campbell.

"That George Zimmerman got out of the car contrary to police instructions, that's not true," Branca said.

Branca is a Massachusetts lawyer traveling the nation by motorcycle -- a one-man lecture tour on guns and self-defense law.

His strong opinions have been in hot demand since Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Martin.

"I decided what people really needed to know was the rules up front to avoid getting in trouble in the first place," Branca said.

Branca's appearance at Campbell Law School did not go unnoticed by his critics, who call him inflammatory and say he is viciously attacking Martin and his family.

Critics point to Branca's Twitter feed. He once tweeted, "To handle Trayvon, a KelTec and one 9mm round would be fine."

"Well anyone who violently attacks another person has to be prepared that person might defend themselves," Branca said.

Another tweet read, "Only person responsible for the death of Trayvon, is Trayvon. Oh, and maybe his father."

"Well his parents weren't around a lot of his upbringing," Branca said.

Many of the Campbell law students had read the tweets and heard the criticism, but came to the lecture to make up their own minds.

"From my perspective, I don't see them as racist or racially insensitive, but more generally insensitive," one student said.

"I was deeply offended...It's a sort of ignorance where he's well educated, well informed but simply doesn't acknowledge certain points of views or certain impacts," another student said.

The Campbell law professor who invited Branca ignored the email campaign, questioning the school's decision to have the lecture.

"Our students learn best when they're presented with point/counterpoint on various issues. We don't shy away from controversial speakers here at Campbell," he said.

Controversy can be good for business, as well. Branca is booked solid with speaking engagements this month. He says he will only be home four days in April.

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