A Modest Proposal: Sensible Regulation of Books

Gary Marbut © 2010 (with thanks to Jonathan Swift)
Owner, Montana Publishing

Protest Free Speech First Amendment
A Modest Proposal: Sensible Regulation of Books

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- It is common knowledge that books, and many other publications, may foster bad behavior, even criminal behavior, and wrong beliefs. Some books may stimulate hostility towards a helpful government. Others may actually enable criminal activity. Some books may expose to public view information about government activity better kept confidential.

People have been injured and killed because of inflammatory or incorrect information in books or other publications. There are even books or publications about jihad and making atomic weapons. Then, there are books that inspire wrong thinking, such as books disclaiming man-caused global warming or critical of helpful public officials.

Of course, there are certainly responsible publishers, purveyors, and buyers of books along with the irresponsible players.

Therefore, a system must be devised to help ensure that books and other publications are only published, distributed and sold by those responsible persons, and only purchased by people without a criminal history, a history suggesting that they would read the wrong sort of books or might even misuse the right kind of books.

Such a system is obvious. The federal government must license publishers, distributors, and sellers of books. Every book published must be individually identifiable, must be traceable to its point of sale and to the purchaser. Every purchaser must undergo a simple and noninvasive criminal record check to make sure he or she is not prohibited because of a criminal record from possessing and thereby misusing books. It is only sensible that people who are unstable or have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent should not be allowed to own books.

Permitted individuals would still be allowed to trade books with others, or even occasionally sell books, as long as they do not get into the “business” of selling books as a vocation. To do otherwise would violate their individual constitutional rights. Those who are trafficking in high volumes of used books, however, must be licensed just as the sellers of new books, and must be required to validate their buyers.

It is also apparent that such restrictions would not accomplish their intended purpose if the restrictions did not also apply to other types of publications, such as magazines and newspapers. Absent a broad, fair-to-all approach; some ill-intended person could publish an unregulated book by simply calling it a “newspaper.” To round out this beneficial exercise, copy machines and computer printers, as well as all forms of electronic or digital publishing, must be included within the regulatory mechanism since books may easily be produced through those platforms.

90% of People Surveyed Support Universal Book Background Checks

Certainly, the careful employees of government regulatory agencies will be able to set reasonable rules for what sorts of people should be licensed, under what conditions, to publish, distribute, sell and buy books and other kinds of publications, and engage in any other types of publishing or book consuming.

Close the Book Loophole

Such a modest regulation of books with reasonable government oversight will go a long way towards reducing the adverse outcomes too often associated with the currently unregulated book marketplace, where any sort of person may obtain any sort of book. After all, these books may be misused with disastrous consequences for our children, our families, our communities, and our Nation.

Simple Justification:

Note: For those readers who object that publishing and buying of books is protected activity under the First Amendment (although books are not actually mentioned there), be advised that the exact same scheme proposed above for books is currently applied to all firearms which are supposed to be protected under the Second Amendment (and ARE mentioned THERE). If the Second Amendment (“shall not be infringed”) may be undercut so severely, so may the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law”).

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Come on, Gary!
Only a “streamist” would oppose common sense book safety laws! And I happen to know you published your own book without a waiting period or a background check! You are partly to blame for all those gun culture people out there thinking bad-thoughts.
And you can’t shout “Theater!” in a crowded Firehouse!

Wild Bill

, If even one child were saved from a Lincolnesque education … it would be worth it!

Country Boy

Touche’ Great example of how ‘sensible gun control” is not sensible at all.

Simple Justification:

Note: For those readers who object that publishing and buying of books is protected activity under the First Amendment (although books are not actually mentioned there), be advised that the exact same scheme proposed above for books is currently applied to all firearms which are supposed to be protected under the Second Amendment (and ARE mentioned THERE). If the Second Amendment (“shall not be infringed”) may be undercut so severely, so may the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law”).

Fahrenheit 451

Boooo! This article is fucking poison!


Lest anyone forget, books HAVE been the target of regulation/prohibition throughout history. The Inquisition had its Index of Prohibited Books. Religious fanatics and governments have burned books or proscribed them. Libraries, educators, minority groups and other have called for certain books to be banned, because they contend that they contain objectionable words or themes. Some writers faced the death penalty because of books they wrote – Alexander Solzhenitsyn (for the “Gulag Archipelago”) and Salman Rushdie (“The Satanic Verses”) being among the most prominent.


Yea. Try finding a copy of Little Black Sambo!


Was ever a book designed specifically to kill? Or, better yet, was ever a book designed specifically to kill people? You know, like pistols are?


have you every heard of “Mein Kampf”, “The Communist Manifesto” or “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung”?

a firearm is an inanimate object, unable to do anything by itself and requiring human intervention for use.

you sir, are a moron or idiot.

Wild Bill

, Fat Tony presumes that pistols were designed specifically to kill people. Apparently he spoke with the designers.

Heed the Call-up

Tony, no pistol was ever designed to specifically kill people. Many books and other forms of writing have been and are written about political strife. Take a look at what was written before our Revolution, as an example – many people died for the ideals our country is based on.

Country Boy

no but cars, knives, baseball bats ,hammers ,1/2″ extensions , and a myriad of other objects were not made to kill people with either. Yet they are USED by criminals to kill people everyday.

If your gun starts getting up and going to the door or talking to you, let us know ASAP. OK? In the meantime try to educate yourself elsewhere other than CNN

Jon Fader

We should completely deregulate and encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Everyone who wants to own and use nuclear weapons should have free and unrestricted access to them. We especially want to ensure that mentally unstable persons, criminally intended individuals and groups, and terrorists, both domestic and foreign, are able to purchase, stock pile, and travel about with nuclear weapons as they see fit. Such will surely inspire fear in the hearts of the general population — Fear that will eventually induce those who would otherwise not be inclined to arm themselves with nuclear weapons to do so, thus increasing… Read more »


you know you are talking BULL$H!T

Samuel Nadasky

So is Mr. Marbut. If you don’t like the result of takeing something to it’s logical conclusion “shall not be infringed” well that’s to bad. The difference between a hand gun a nunchucks and a nuclear weapons is scale.

Heed the Call-up

Samuel, the other, more important, difference is that one can’t carry nuclear weapons on one’s person, nor employ such in a self-defense situation. One other difference is nuclear materials are highly regulated and pose an immediate danger to oneself – due to radiation, unlike firearms and other self-defense tools. Also, I would believe obtaining the licensing, permits, and land, not to mention having the vast sums of money to purchase and maintain a nuclear weapon would put owning nuclear weapons out of the reach of most citizens. What arms do you believe the commissioned privateers used that attacked British shipping… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Heed, et. al. This fellow cares not for facts, logic, or even civil rights. He just thinks that he has a winning argument. Of course, his argument is built on such an impossible, and stupid, hypothetical that it has no potential application in the real world.

Heed the Call-up

WB, yes, that is true, but I still felt the need to post a cogent argument to refute his stupidity. One never knows, maybe one day he will see the flaws in his point-of-view and come to seek and accept logic and knowledge. I know I have been enlightened on numerous topics over my lifetime.


What a hack. Books don’t kill, unless you count the bible and other religious fairytales.

I hope those reading this look up Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal.’ Which, like this article, was written sarcastically about something preventable that killed people


Guns don’t kill – people kill, with guns, and without guns.
Good people are not going to disarm because criminals kill with guns – Good people are armed BECAUSE criminals kill with guns.
Guns don;t kill – GUNS PROTECT!

Samuel Nadasky

Yes arms shall not be infringed exspecialy nuclear arms.

Heed the Call-up

Samuel, not especially, but including. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can see using a nuclear weapon in self-defense in CBQ. Stupidity is a good reason for you not to be armed with anything that might hurt you and others that may unfortunately be near you.

Heed the Call-up

Meant “can’t see using”. Spellcheck decided to “fix” it for me as I was posting.


The Second Amendment says arms, not FIREarms. Aerosolized anthrax spores and VX nerve gas are Constitutionally protected too, right?

Heed the Call-up

Max, would you use those items for self-defense? You might become your own victim using those in CBQ.


It wouldn’t do any good to regulate books, progressives don’t read them anyway. They just listen to liberal profs and teachers talk them into socialism. Buy you books and buy you books and all you do is eat the cover (or the teacher).

Dr Timothy-Allen Albertson

Sarcasm is great.




The tinge of truth and sadness … Can anyone else remember when what we then called communist regeims kept track of every typewriter, and kept copies of each machine’s “printout?” Watch what you think, comrade, ….

Roy D.

Back when I was a Federal Govt employee I had the typewriter that I used seized for the purpose of determining whether I was possibly the author of a drop note outlining a murder plot in which I was the intended victim. Yes Sir, I was never so happy as when I walked out for the last time upon retiring six and a half years ago.


Actually the 2nd Amendment does NOT protect guns, as is stated in the article, it protects an individual’s right to own, have, and carry guns, ANY guns! The federal government has NO “rights”, nor do state governments. Only people can have rights. The federal and state governments only have “powers/authority”, powers that are given to it by the people – BUT the people cannot give the government powers that the people do not have themselves, as in restricting the rights of any individual. In other words, the people cannot give the government the power to infringe on the second amendment… Read more »


All governments worldwide are—and have been throughout history—prone to claiming rights as theirs to dispense or restrict without regard for the needs of citizens. However, this tendency is deeper than people vs. government; at its core this constant drift by government to be all encompassing has a spiritual warfare dimension that is ignored because it doesn’t seem possible to the highly educated, intellectually elite (or at least the privileged class) who disparage the things and thinking of everyday people. Worldwide government never stops with its dreams and schemes because it is guided by the one St. Paul calls “the god… Read more »


Are you running for president , if so you have my vote


That’s the most circular, convoluted thought process I’ve ever seen. Of course we can regulate guns if we choose to. That’s how democracy works

Heed the Call-up

Tony, thankfully we live in a Constitutional Republic and our 2A states “shall not be infringed”. BTW, the 2A states “arms”, not “guns”. Have you read the 2A recently? ever?

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Wild Bill

@Fat Tony, We do not live in a democracy. Neither the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights anywhere mention a democracy. We live in a Constitutional Republic, where the Civil Rights of the people collar and chain the various governments.
We the people are able to truly say, “Yes” because we have the Right to say, “No”.
If you want to be a slave, then I suggest opioids, pornography, meth, whiskey, or food, but not tyranny, we will not go with you.


Excellent article. I maintain that those individuals who abuse the 1st Amendment (the media for one) and do harm, should be held accountable for their actions at the same level of those who abuse the 2nd Amendment (Arrest, criminal prosecution, jail, fines and upon conviction never being allowed to publish or broadcast or work in the media for life). After all, fair is fair.


That is how it is supposed to work, BUT those fines and punishments need to be severe, not a slap on the wrist so there is no incentive to responsible. Violent criminals, for example, should be removed from society permanently. They have no right to be given a second chance when their actions gave their victims no second chance. The media should be held to a higher standard than the public when it comes to publishing information, considering what they present has influence over the people. If you shut down a newspaper, a publishing company, or news station, another one… Read more »

Samuel Nadasky

Ahhh so amoo land should be procecuted for publishing the false fact “90% of People Surveyed Support Universal Book Background Checks”

Good to know

Heed the Call-up

Samuel, you have proof that their “fact” is false? Do you know who they polled? Additionally, you do understand that this commentary is satire, right?


Great analogy to gun control for the folks that didn’t get it or read the last paragraph.


It’s…a great analogy for how craycray gun fanatics are you mean. I’d like some statistics on how many domestic murders come about from someone beating their wife to death with a hardcover. Or how many kids accidentally bash in their head with a first edition Harry Potter (those books are thick). Also most Americans are A-OK with gun control, you know the safegaurds that could help keep weapons out of the hands of known criminals, common sense training on being a responsible gun owner, having child safe storage, not whole sale shipping weapons south to countries like Mexico (beset by… Read more »

Robert Messmer

The only person who engaged in wholesale shipping weapons south to Mexico was Eric Holder while he was the Attorney General. Or as he put, Obama’s wing man.

rich z

Does ANYONE remember the movie Fahrenheit 451 ? Are we getting close to this?


Man-made “global warming” is total bullshit. What’s the problem with writing about that?


The main problem is that so many (otherwise intelligent) people are afraid of the Greenies. Those usually-responsible citizens are afraid of the social ostracism they may receive from the pro-global warming fanatics. I, on the other hand, do not give a tinker’s dam about what those Greenies like, dislike, want, think, or need… and I certainly do not care how often or loudly they scream. Personally, I have absolutely NO problem writing about the “man-made global warming” scam. And I do indeed write about it, and loudly denounce it, quite often. The screaming meemies who attack me for such writing… Read more »


Read a book, dude. Anthropogenic climate change is not a hoax.
-A fucking atmospheric chemist

Heed the Call-up

Concerned, how does one get a degree in “fucking atmospheric chemistry”? Which university issued you that diploma?

Larry Brickey

Many believe it, including me.


Didn’t we repeal net neutrality? This sort of thing may not be far off. We are already seeing some movement from private companies to censor. If we get a law passed that defines ” hate speech” then their will be clear license to prosecute 1st amendment issues.
Who, under 30, reads books? Online will be where the battle is waged.


The Supreme Court has already ruled that there is no definition of “hate speech”.

Big Lou

Make them get insurance to own books also. Plus a 5 year renewal I’D. Also pass a reading training course. Must be 21 to apply.


Sadly, this seems all too possible in the world we now inhabit.


Love the satire. Sadly how many of us who support the Second Amendment have long succumbed to compromise with unconstitutional policy? In the name of moderation? Too many of us. Article VI within the US Constitution tells us that we have the right to defund, disbar, and discharge those from office who are not in good standing with the US Constitution. It’s simply Supreme Law, over all other laws and State constitutions. It trumps even President Trump. So many of the challenges we struggle with in the US are a result of unconstitutional policy. The buck needs to stop here,… Read more »

Patriot Kevin

I am on the process of publishing a book and now worry how will this affect the future market for books of all types. Left or right wing it doesn’ t matter to thouse who want to do harm. If they want to restrict anything it should be the internet. That monster does more harm than a million books ever could.

Rocky Mountain

Oh I can hear lefty’s getting pissed over this. How dare you try and regulate their gay education and self help books. Who in the hell do we think we are the book police. Looooooool. Regulate their cell phone consumption too, cut it in half on weekdays and down to 20% on weekends. Make em get a permit from the gun enthusiasts to use a cell phone. Yeah, I like that. Make em get a background check and permit for their abortions then have to pay for a funeral service and burial plot. Skanks would totally go ape shit although… Read more »

Samuel Nadasky

Yes because leftist don’t read history. They wouldn’t know this was a parody of a famous essay.

Heed the Call-up

Samuel, based on many of your posts and those of others, your statement appears correct.

Dubi Loo

We need Common Sense Book Control! Limit the 1A rights of all libs!

Charles Moore

Book “safety” laws. Registration. Fingerprints. Prohibition on privately owned libraries (who on earth needs so MANY??), one-book-a-month, no books with more than 7 pages, no books with ugly or scary-looking covers, no black books, safe storage requirements (can’t let impressionable youngsters get their hands on them!), only books with approved names/titles, no “assault books” on topics the elite does not approve of, . . . . getting the idea yet, lefties?

Charles Moore

Yes, your wish list of gun laws is just as ridiculous. Shall not be infringed. Does not matter one bit WHO owns them, we already have to deal with as a reality.


If you think even the most insane book is as dangerous as free for all guns (and that this dumb analogy actually works) you aren’t a conservative, you are simply a dumbass. Perhaps you should try book ownership out.

Heed the Call-up

Zoa, where are the rivers of blood in the Constitutional Carry and “Shall Issue” states? There’s more blood in the streets in the “May Issue” states and cities with restrictive firearms laws. Odd how that works, eh?

Wild Bill

@Zoa, Absent the writings of Marx and Engels, Communism would never have happened and look how dangerous that was.
Absent “My Struggle” National Socialism would not have happened, and look how dangerous that was.
Current and even old time tyrants knew that information and ideas contained in books are more dangerous than firearms.

Heed the Call-up

WB, and she probably doesn’t understand, nr heard/read of the adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Sadly, she proves there are people in the world as ignorant, and maybe even more so, than her. Some seek enlightenment, others just seek a dark, quiet corner to hide in hoping the real world is just a dream.

Steve Easterling