Now Available! (Press Releases & Media)

A New Book by Steven C. Markoff

Misfire: The Supreme Court, The Second Amendment, Our Right to Bear Arms

(Pre-order at – – Rare Bird)

Author Steven Markoff has had an interest in guns and the law since his teens. Regarding the law, he focused for many years on the 5–4 (or the occasional 4–3) U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Steven wondered why there would be such a split vote. 

Given that all the justices are said to be accomplished attorneys, and that they all have presumably read and heard the same facts and law of a case, why did their conclusions differ? Steven thought, in theory, it should be so simple. The justices should just read the law, absorb the facts, listen to the oral arguments, and make the right decision.

That, of course, isn’t life, given laws and facts are often imprecise, if not in dispute, and that humans, with all our differences, are involved in the analysis and voting.

When Steven read the 5–4 2008 Heller decision (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570), he didn’t understand how the evidence presented in the Court’s Opinion supported its finding that there was an individual right to arms in the home in the Second Amendment.

After discussing the case with his friend, a federal judge, the judge challenged Steven, a layman, to dig into the Heller Opinion and see what his concerns were with it.

Steven accepted that challenge and, after digging into the Heller Opinion and Colonial and founding-era American documents for nine years, produced Misfire: The Supreme Court, The Second Amendment, Our Right to Bear Arms. The book is only 120 pages, accompanied by 340 pages of appendices. Those appendices include original texts of Colonial and founding-era documents, brief summaries of over 1,000 Colonial and founding-era arms and related laws, and a listing of the Heller amici, including a brief penned by three linguists.

Some reviews that open a window into Misfire:

Darren G. Smith, attorney – “Misfire is a compelling read and includes an interesting amicus brief filed by linguists. This is a book that should be on every Justice’s desk when the next gun case comes around.”

California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (ret.) – “‘Misfire’ is an exhaustive examination of the historical sources contemporaneous with the Second Amendment’s passage. No matter how much you think you know about the Second Amendment, you’re guaranteed to learn something from this well-researched book.”

Robert V. Madden, attorney at law – “In ‘Misfire,’ Steven Markoff and his research team take the reader on a fascinating in-depth journey through a mosaic of colonial laws and regulations in order to construct the true underlying historical foundation upon which the 2nd Amendment was birthed and then apply and contrast this milieu with that espoused in Heller–all with surprising results.”

Pierce O’Donnell, Author of In Time of War: Hitler’s Terrorist Attack on America  “Misfire is an impressive, path-breaking feat of original historical research about colonial America’s legal treatment of firearms regulation leading up to the adoption of the Second Amendment in 1791. Historian Steve Markoff has rendered a genuine public service by meticulously collecting and deftly analyzing the record in the 13 colonies, demonstrating the utter lack of any evidence for the personal right of individuals to firearms. … Misfire offers a timely opportunity for the Justice’s to revisit Heller.”

James Bryan, Esq.  “The book is a thought-provoking critique of the Second Amendment, particularly analyzing the 2008 Heller decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Markoff challenges the decision’s foundation, arguing that it diverges significantly from historical context and documentation. … the book’s subject is highly relevant. Markoff provides a fresh perspective on a well-trodden topic, which is valuable for readers seeking a deeper understanding of the Second Amendment.” 

Trina Madison, lawyer  “The main thesis of the book, that historical evidence provides no basis for an individual right to firearms, is proven by the arguments and historical documents that you explore in the book.”    

Joe Ranvestel, civil rights attorney; former public defender  “I think the book was, overall, well written. I was surprised at the thorough, technical research that went into this, referencing early writings I was wholly unaware of, and documents I was otherwise not this familiar with as applied to firearms/the 2nd Amendment.”

Rare Bird is the publisher of Misfire and two other books by Steven Markoff:

– The Case Against George W. Bush (Click here)

– The ACLU Handbook – The First 100 Years of the ACLU: A Compendium of Advocacy Before the United States Supreme Court (Click here)