I remember my first time buying a book. I was nineteen years old, my parents had just agreed to sign off on my BOID (Book Owners ID) card since parental signatures are required until age twenty-one. After taking a picture, signing a bunch of paperwork, sending a bit of money and waiting for over a month my BOID finally came in.
I walked into Barnes and Noble, went to the counter and asked to one of the copies they had of Lord of The Rings. As I walked in I noticed signs everywhere about how it is illegal to buy a book for someone else who is ineligible to buy themselves — the penalties were as steep as ten years in prison. Before the shopkeep went to retrieve the book, he asked to see my BOID card, since it illegal to even show a book to someone who lacks the card. After inspecting the book I decided I wanted to make the purchase. They handed me federal forms where I submitted to a background check (despite already having a BOID which requires a background check) and had to state why I wanted the book. My state allows purchasing multiple books in a 30-day period but the state police are automatically alerted and I would be investigated as a straw purchaser. Luckily I only wanted one book.
I was almost instantly approved but still had to wait 24 hours before picking up the book. Later in life when I was eligible to purchase pocket books I had to wait three days. When I picked up the book I had to keep it in a closed case in my cars trunk. It wasn’t until I was 24 that my state legalized the public carry of certain books, and even then it took around $500 between training and fees to attain the necessary license.
This is in sharp contrast to guns, for which in my childhood I would frequently rent free of charge from our local tax funded community armory.