Trigger Warning


The right of the people to keep and bear arms, and its treatment by the courts, has gotten a lot of attention since the 2008 decision in which the Supreme Court for the first time in history held that a gun control regulation violated the Second Amendment. Robert Cottrol and Brannon Denning have published a very useful history of the developments that led to the Court’s dramatic reshaping of Second Amendment doctrine: To Trust the People with Arms: The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment. The book is of manageable length and it will be accessible to a lay audience.

The need for such a book arises in part from the complexity of the legal history and in part from confusion that has been created by disputes within the Supreme Court and among the lower courts. In addition, professional historians have very aggressively criticized the Court’s opinions and the legal scholarship that prepared the way for the sea change that began in 2008.

The current state of the law is exceptionally unsettled, and seems likely to remain in ferment for some time to come. Cottrol and Denning are cautiously optimistic that the Court can steer the nation toward a moderate and reasonable gun-control regime, and a majority of the Justices are probably aiming at just this result. Whatever lies ahead, this book will help non-specialists to intelligently follow and assess the coming legal developments.