Clearly supportive of the Supreme Court's decision, Doherty (a senior editor of Reason magazine) tells the story of District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark 2008 case which struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 and affirmed, for the first time in US history, the Bill of Rights protection of the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" as an individual right. In addition to telling the story of Heller and its aftermath, he also offers a broader discussion of the politics of gun control, gun rights, and the constitutional issues at stake.
"Early on the morning of March 18, 2008, before the sun began to warm the stone plaza in front of the wide, sweeping front steps and regal colonnade of the Supreme Court of the United States, hundreds of people had gathered. They formed a ragged line streching around to the northern side of the Court's pillared halls.
The crowd bore the long wait standing or sitting on chilly stone, many with nothing but overcoats for pillows or blankets. Still, they were excited, neither aggravated nor bored. The first 50 or so had been overnight to claim the first-come, first-served chance to sit inside the courthouse's hallowed hall, to see and hear the justices and lawyers spar firsthand. It was worth the trouble. American history would be made there, that day."
Brian Doherty (born June 1, 1968) is an American journalist. He is a Senior Editor at Reason magazine. He is the author of This Is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground (Little, Brown, 2004), Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (PublicAffairs, 2007) and Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment (Cato Institute, 2008).