Could reading violent, gun themed books and magazines soon be illegal in your library district? A bill (BDR 17-451) proposed by Senator “Max” Praetor (D-Aurora) would put such publications as The Blue Book of Gun Values, Jane’s All the Fighting Ships, and the NRA’s publication America’s First Freedom under lock and key. His bill seeks to prohibit violent gun-themed books from public libraries. Popular fiction books that contain extensive gun violence would also be affected by the bill. Senator Maximus’ fear is that children, whose parents frequently use libraries as unpaid and under-supervised after-school and day care
“Libraries are safe places to learn. We believe that public libraries are public places for children, youth, families and adult learners and as such, deserve public protections against violent reading material and even DVDs,” Praetor said. “Libraries have a duty to make sure that children and the public are only reading safe materials. Libraries are a safe place to learn and we can’t do that if people are reading such shoot ‘em up books by authors like Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. It’s just not appropriate in a public space.”
The bill’s legislative summary states: “This bill would prohibit a person from reading or possessing certain books or magazines while on the property of a public library unless the person has written permission from the governing board of the public library to read or possess the book or magazine.”
The bill’s sponsor feels that it was an oversight by the state not to prohibit libraries from banning dangerous books. “Do we really want anyone who wants to, to be able to stroll into a library and bring these dangerous, violent books in with them?”
A librarian from the Searchlight Library District had this to say:
“Just the other day, we had a man sitting at a table reading a copy of Guns and Ammo. Anyone could see what he was reading. Pictures of guns that kill people violently openly exposed to children. I mean, this guy walked into the library openly carrying that magazine in his hand. I was so frightened. I didn’t know what to do, but under the law, I had to let him read it. That law needs to change.”
Other books, the senator said, contain dangerous ideas. “There are several books in the non-fiction section that go into extensive detail about violent attempts to over thrown the government here in America. Particularly large sections dealing with the late 18th century and mid-19th century gun owners run amok. We also have large amounts of written material that espouses the writing and beliefs of early American politicians who owned slaves. Are those the kinds of things that should be accessible to children? “
The bill would grant the library board of trustees permission to give individuals to carry such books into a library or borrow them. “Each library should be allowed to decide for itself what its patrons should and shouldn’t be allowed to read in their libraries. Libraries are like schools, and that means that people who use libraries are like children. Library patrons needs responsible people to tell them what they should and shouldn’t be thinking, excuse me, I mean reading,” Senator Praetor said.
The full text of the bill and information on votes and hearing can be read here, on NELIS.
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Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West