Self Defense is a Fundamental Right Guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment By Maryann Zihala

Self Defense is a Fundamental Right Guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment
By Maryann Zihala

When first ratified and added to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights applied only to the national level of government. The federal government would not be able to infringe on our fundamental rights as listed in the Bill of Rights. Fundamental rights go by many names including basic rights, human rights, inalienable rights, and natural rights. These are rights that we are born with; the government does not give us our fundamental rights – the government is there to protect these rights.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the Civil War Amendments, was ratified in 1868 and changed the tone and future of the Bill of Rights. The 14th Amendment says very clearly: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” From this point forward the Bill of Rights would apply to the state governments as well as the federal government.

Over the next hundred or so years, the Supreme Court would use the 14th Amendment to force the states to comply with and protect the “fundamental” rights of the people contained in the Bill of Rights. One by one, case by case, the Supreme Court applied the 1st Amendment rights to the states, and then the rights of the accused found in the 4th through 8th Amendments.

One amendment had curiously escaped this treatment, the 2nd Amendment, until recently. In the DC v. Heller case in 2008 the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the 2nd Amendment gives to the people the right to “keep and bear arms.” For some in this country that case was not enough to set the precedent and force the states’ compliance; the District of Columbia is not a state. And so we had the case of McDonald v. Chicago ruled on very recently by the Supreme Court. In this case the Court allowed that the right of self defense is a fundamental right deserving of protection from government, federal and state. The justices in the majority decided that the 2nd Amendment was applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment’s privileges and immunities clause and its due process clause. The decision was 5-4 with the four conservative justices voting in favor of a 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and the four liberal justices voting against it. The “swing” voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, voted with the majority.

Our most recently Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, told the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing that she agreed with the Heller decision and believed that the 2nd Amendment did give the people the right to keep and bear arms. She added that the Heller case makes this idea of an individual’s right to bear arms “settled” law – meaning that it is the law of the land and requires no further review. In the recent McDonald case, on the same subject, she was on the side of denying the people this right. In fact, she claimed to see nothing that suggested the right of self defense to be a fundamental right and agreed with Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissenting opinion that DC v. Heller should be overturned.

Lately we have been watching the confirmation hearings of President Obama’s latest nominee for the high court, Elena Kagen. She has told the Judiciary Committee that she agrees with the McDonald decision and believes the right of self defense to be a fundamental right. This is very likely to be as untrue as the similar statement made by Justice Sotomayor during her confirmation hearing. This is the problem with Supreme Court nominees and their subsequent appointments. They can say anything while in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation. If confirmed, and it is determined later that the nominee lied to the Senators, there is no repercussion; the Justice will sit on the Court for life.

By the time this goes to print Kagen will, in all likelihood, be confirmed and sitting on the Supreme Court. While the issue of self defense and the right to bear arms is important in and of itself, it should also serve as a warning to Senators that maybe the confirmation process should be taken a little more seriously – unless they don’t mind being lied to. Of course, the House of Representatives could always level an impeachment charge of perjury against Justice Sotomayor.

Maryann Zihala, J.D. is a political scientist and author of Rights, Liberties & the Rule of Law (2004) and Democracy: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number (2003). Email:

Firearm’s, Training & Self-Defense! Shoot Out At The IDPA Bear Creek Tactical Range

Firearm’s, Training & Self-Defense

Bear Creek Tactical

Firearm’s, Training & Self-Defense
Shoot Out At The IDPA Bear Creek Tactical Range
Article and photography by Edward Biamonte

OR –

With so many people owning firearms today it’s just common sense to learn “a refined and scientific approach to shooting and self defense.” I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner of the Bear Creek Tactical range in Stockton Missouri, Rick Allenbrand. Bear Creek has a training day, that I refer to as a shoot out, the first Saturday of the month– 12 months out of the year. The focus of Rick Allenbrand is to train all users of firearms. He trains SWAT teams, private security to advance sniper training. His vision “is to provide a client-focused training center committed to the continual development of innovative techniques and training solutions, pertinent to the ever-changing environment of today’s world.”

Although our time was brief, because I was called to the range, I could tell Rick was very methodical in his approach to training as his pedigree reveals. I asked Allenbrand what instructional class he believed every shooter should take? Without blinking he stated the Conceal and Carry / Advanced Handgun I. Throughout the day I asked shooters on the course if they had taken the class. Those who did said it was worth every minute. Watching them shoot one could tell they’re better skills measured their time spent in the class.

A novice, myself, I am trying to learn as much about the sport of firearm shooting as possible. This being my third IDPA I can say I really enjoy it and want to get my spouse involved. So I decided to buy her the perfect .380 ACP semi auto by Walther? After reading reviews on the web about the .380 auto many women shooters stated the gun fits a women’s smaller hand perfectly. The .380 and other subcompacts like the 32, 25 and 22 are all the rage today and resemble the very cool Walther PPK (James Bond) style gun. I was curious what Risk’s thoughts were about the smaller semi autos and why the IDPA did not allow any of the new conceal and carry .380 caliber or any caliber under a 38 caliber on the range?

Rick stated that the new subcompact semi auto’s are – OK – but really not the best self defense or conceal and carry weapon. I was shocked? After all, they’re the hottest pistol selling today. Their slim and sexy, easy to hide. Rick believes their good as a back up, but on the range they lack the fire power to knock down a steel target so the IDPA does not allow them or any lessor caliber on the range. Furthermore, in a close combat defensive situation where you are surprised or grabbed by a perp you want at least at a 38 caliber for self defense.

For C&C, Allenbrand likes the 38 CIA special revolver (no external hammer) or even better a taser. The 38 special is very small, powerful, easy to hide and will not jam! It allows you to ready the weapon very fast and pull the trigger. Concerning the taser – Rick says “a taser will drop anyone.” He has seen law enforcement training films where a drug enraged bad guy took repeated hits to the body by a 45 caliber and kept advancing to grab the officer. Then when tased finally drop to the ground. Allenbrand

states “if an assailant grabs you, you have the time it takes to speak one sentence to ready and use your weapon.” Rick trains people to waist pull their weapon and use lower extremity targeting for self defense.

OK – So if the 38 special is the best small gun or a taser is the best conceal and carry, why did every shooter on the range that day have a semi auto? The semi auto is a very, very good gun that can be carried in a shoulder holster, belt holster, leg holster or as home defense weapon. More experienced shooters can pull and shoot the double action weapon very fast with deadly accuracy? However – experience is the key.

I just had to ask– “what is the best home defense weapon?” A resounding 12 gauge with number 4 loads resounded from the guys listening in on the conversation. The very sound of a 12 gauge loading a shell is enough to make a perp turn and walk away. So why is everyone buying semi autos big, thin, long or small? They’re just fun to shoot! And people are finding fun and safe ways to get their guns off.

Coming from all demographics and social norms people who own firearms do so for many different reasons. And that’s why groups like the IDPA – International Defensive Pistol Association – and the NRA exist. They help people learn, understand and train with their firearm and use the firearm in a safe and civil way. Plus it’s just great fun that’s challenging and competitive far beyond what standard range shooting offers.
Looking for a fun family activity, make shooting a family event by joining the IDPA, NRA and a an indoor range like The Sound of Freedom!

Here’s a little history you might not of known about the NRA. The NRA has been around since the late 1800’s. Their web site states: “Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president. An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York state, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later, and it was there that the first annual matches were held.
Political opposition to the promotion of marksmanship in New York forced the NRA to find a new home for its range. In 1892, Creedmoor was deeded back to the state and NRA’s matches moved to Sea Girt, New Jersey.”

So one begs the question: If we have the NRA why do we need the IDPA. Different clubs focus on different applications and scenarios of training. The rifle used in the 1800’s was a long rifle, hence– the National Rifleman’s Association. The IDPA is The International Defensive Pistol Association. The difference – the focus is on the pistol.

The IDPA creates unique scenarios that you have to defensively work through. Their web site states: “The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. It was founded in 1996 as a response to the desires of shooters worldwide. The organization now boasts membership of more than 17,008, including members in 50 foreign countries. One of the unique facets of this sport is that it is geared toward the new or average shooter, yet is fun, challenging and rewarding for the experienced shooter.

The founders developed the sport so that practical gear and practical guns may be used competitively. An interested person can spend a minimal amount on equipment and still be competitive. The main goal is to test the skill and ability of the individual, not equipment or gamesmanship. “Competition only” equipment is not permitted in this sport. The firearms are grouped into five (5) divisions:

Custom Defensive Pistol (.45ACP semi-automatics only);
Enhanced Service Pistol (9 mm (9×19) or larger caliber semi-automatics);
Stock Service Pistol (9 mm (9×19) or larger caliber double action, double action only, or safe action semi-automatics);
Enhanced Service Revolver (.38 caliber or larger double action revolvers); and
Stock Service Revolver (.38 caliber or larger double action revolvers). See Appendix One – Equipment for delineations in the revolver divisions. Shooters are then classed by like-skill levels with progression from Novice (NV); to Marksman (MM); to Sharpshooter (SS); to Expert (EX); and, finally, to Master (MA).”
What are the  goals of IDPA?

1: Promote safe and proficient use of guns and equipment suitable for self-defense use.

2: Provide a level playing field for all competitors to test the skill and ability of the individual, not their equipment or gamesmanship.

3: Provide separate divisions for equipment and classifications for shooters, such that guns with similar characteristics are grouped together and people with similar skills compete only against each other.

4: Provide shooters with practical and realistic courses of fire that simulate a potentially life-threatening encounter or that tests skills that would be required to survive a life-threatening encounter.

5: Offer a practical shooting sport that is responsive to the shooters and sponsors, with unprecedented stability of equipment rules.

6: Offer a practical shooting sport that allows the competitors to concentrate on the development of their shooting skills and fellowship with other like-minded shooters.

Rick Allenbrand’s Mission

To provide basic and advanced training, coupled with both tactical and comprehensive real-world scenario exercises.
To provide the tools and knowledge to those who are constantly seeking self, tactical, and team skill enhancement, while willing to think outside-the-box.
Today’s tensions require the use of trainers that are not paper tigers. To meet that demand, the goal of our organization is to provide only experienced and highly motivated trainers and operators. To fulfill that philosophy, our trainers are proven individuals, having served at the federal, state and local levels, with experience in real-world incidents.
This no frills approach will provide a professional, customer-oriented training aspect, designed to fit the specific training requirements for an individual, as well as the agency training program.

Contact Rick Allenbrand at PO Box 536 Stockton, MO 417-276-6118

The shooters present that day at Bear Creek’s IDPA Saturday morning training session love to shoot. There were four courses the shooter’s engaged. Each course had a unique set up or progression you had to follow. Speed and accuracy score your attempt to self defend. Some shooters say take a moderate speed approach while others try to go as fast as possible. Accuracy is always a must. Shooters form groups of friends that adapt fun ways to attack the course. While others are very serious and see the training as method to self defense.

There is never a wrong way to any safe approach. So keep your approach safe by following the rules. And there are a bunch of safety rules that if not followed will eject you from the course. The group I enjoy shooting with have adopted a fun and safe approach to the competition called the ZMOS approach?

ZMOS? The “Zombie Militia Of Springfield” – still don’t get it? How do you kill a Zombie? Head Shots!! Shawn Dixon and Jeff Madden “We’re the head shot guys. We run the course as fast as possible, killing Zombies the only way you can kill a Zombie – shooting the dead in the head.” The target is smaller therefore demanding more focus and precise shooting.

The ZMOS guys, having trained for years as youth on Zombie video games, are good shooters and make running the course fun. Now mature adults they use real guns and train on paper (zombie) targets. Standard old school shooting is two to the body one to the head. Head shooters do two to the head and on the last Zombie target unload or get their gun off!!! After all – one has to get ready for the Zombie uprising– we’re told is “emanate”.

Final thoughts. I’m no expert, however, with any sport – you have to use common sense and employ Safe Guidelines. All fire arm shooting organizations have safety rules to follow. If you belong to a club that does not – find a club that does! Safety first! Keep hand guns out of the hands of bad guys – get a gun safe! Keep your children safe – Get A Gun Safe! If your firearm is lost or stolen report it immediately to the authorities to protect yourself from reprisals if the gun is used unlawfully. If you have children – allow them to be a part of the sport and as a family take a gun safety class. Involving your children takes away the curiosity factor children often have when told not to touch something. Redundant? Keeping the gun in a safe removes the opportunity of children showing the firearm off in front of their friends. Use Common Sense, stay safe!

Edward Biamonte is a free lance commercial and editorial photographer.
You can see Edward Biamonte’s work in 417 Magazine at
Or visit Edward’s Webs at and for Architecture at

New START Treaty with Russia will START to Decrease U.S. Security

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has begun hearings on President Obama’s recently negotiated arms control treaty with Russia. The ‘Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty’ was signed by the President in April and submitted to the Senate for ratification in May. The Senate must ratify the treaty with a 2/3rd vote in order for it to become law in the United States. The President is hoping for a vote on ratification before the November election. Constitutionally, treaty ratification requires 67 senate votes –something that will be difficult for the 59 Senate Democrats to get now and almost surely impossible after the November election, when the Republicans are likely to increase their number in the Senate.

Apple Boycotts Fox News Glen Beck

Sarah Steelman | ON Point!

“Why Stand We Here Idle?”
by Sarah Steelman,
Former State Treasurer of Missouri
Currently an advisor to TFI Portfolios LLC
A Terror-Free investment portfolio advisor

In the spring of 1775, while many in the Virginia delegation were content on waiting for King George to respond to Congress’s latest petition for “reconciliation”, one was not – Patrick Henry.  Henry presented a proposal to the Virginia delegation to organize a volunteer company of cavalry or infantry to defend themselves against the British.  His words expressed urgency and a commitment that we should all remember today.  Our enemy is not as visible as King George and the British grenadiers.  However, terrorists stealing our freedom and killing our citizens is once again at stake in a much more insidious and evil way.  And just as Patrick Henry refused to appease the enemy and wait for “reconciliation”, he instead prepared for battle.  We as Americans need to wake up and take action instead of waiting for government to “protect” us.  Full story online at

A 2009 Retrospective – Is Brand Obama Tarnished Forever?

2009 was anything but typical from sea to shinning sea. From the swearing in of the first biracial to the Presidency of the United States to the Tea Party protesters movement, this country will never be the same. It has been said that change is good, in retrospect we’ll see. What we have seen thus far by the new President has been mediocre at best. The Obama brand “Hope and Change” is it tarnished forever?

Starting with Cap and Tax, Health Care reform, outrageous spending with rising national debt into the trillions, anti-terrorism failures, constitutional rights for enemy combatants, green jobs moving to China, unemployment at double digits, no focus to create jobs, back room deals in health care, no transparency as promised, Acorn scandals, a blatant disregard for the constitution, and the attempt to remove contextual heuristic structures of blue and white from the debate and replace it with a democratic (socialist) red reveals contemptible administrative actions. Is Obama trying to bankrupt the nation? What should be the foremost agenda by our government? Full story on line at

Fujah Magazines February Issue On-line Now!

Sarah Steelman ON Point – “Why Stand We Here Idle?”
Dr. Z’s Perspective – Freedom of Speech, Politically In – Correct?
InspiRED Valentines Day Fashions, by Nicole Taylor – Photography Edward Biamonte
Racist Republicans??
Transparency? Liberty for All! by JB MAX and much much more On Line Now


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