Skip to content

The Volunteer Moms Poring Over Archives to Prove Clarence Thomas Wrong


In 2018, after a teenage gunman murdered 14 students and three faculty members at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Jennifer Birch, fearing for the safety of her own children, decided to join the fight against gun violence. “My kids were the same age, in high school,” she told Slate, “and it was enough to say: I have to do something now.” What Birch could never have anticipated is that five years later, she would find herself in the basement of a courthouse poring over 150-year-old county archives. Birch’s mission, as part of a volunteer force for the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, has been to identify Santa Ana, California, firearm regulations from the 1800s and earlier—all part of an effort to satisfy the Supreme Court’s increasingly preposterous whims about what’s necessary to prove a firearm regulation is constitutional.