California court strikes down law that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors
Signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, the law would have prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18, and forced retailers to pay a $1,000 fine per violation. It would have also created stricter regulations for manufacturers.
The law had been held up in various courts since it was signed by the governor. One of the main factors for this was determining a definition of “violent video games” as the subject is too broad in and of itself. In addition, the video game industry employs the ESRB rating scale to determine what games are suitable for intended audiences. Apparently this wasn’t enough for California politicians.
This isn’t the first time this has happened either, as similar laws that would regulate the sale of video games in other states have also been struck down in the past. This makes it no real surprise then, that the Supreme Court would declare the law unconstitutional and a violation of 1st and 14th Amendment rights.
In the end, what it comes down to is the fact that parents should be responsible for what their children play. There are multiple regulatory measures already in place, such as the ESRB and parental locks on systems, that allows parents to make educated decisions and control in determining what their child should or should not play.
It’s also interesting to note that only video games were singled out. What about violent movies, television, music, and other forms of entertainment? No doubt they would have been targeted next had the law been passed.
Today marks not only a victory for video games but for free speech as well. You can read all about the Supreme Court’s decision here.