It today’s “gaming causes violence” news, the U.S. House of Representatives will soon begin debating, and possibly motioning to make ESRB ratings legally binding across the United States. The bill, which was proposed by Republican Jim Matheson (Utah), seeks to potentially make it illegal to sell or rent to anyone under the age of 18 any game rated "AO," while making it unlawful to sell or rent any "Mature" title to persons under the age of 17. The fines for breaking this potential law, you ask? Well, lets just say it’s not a slap on the wrist; how does $5,000 per fine sound?
After reading that, you’re probably thinking, “Isn’t already illegal to sell to minors under the age of 17 for M-rated titles?” Actually, yes, which is why the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) disagrees with passing the bill into law, though they do share the same concerns as Matheson.
"[The ESA] shares Representatives Matheson’s goal of ensuring parents maintain control over the entertainment enjoyed by their children," the ESA said in a released statement. "That is why we work with retailers and stakeholders to raise awareness about the proven Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system, the parental controls available on every video game console, and the importance of parents monitoring what games their children play."
"However, this type of legislation was already ruled unconstitutional and is a flawed approach. Empowering parents, not enacting unconstitutional legislation, is the best way to control the games children play."
In case you’ve forgotten, these daily gaming pieces come on the heals of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that took place last December in Newtown Connecticut. In response, the National Rifle Association ousted the gaming industry as the perpetrators behind the shooting, and all young violence across America today, and so in response we’ve been seeing more calling for research to see if there’s a casual link between “violent” video games and violent behavior, though past studies by Texas A&M Internation, Harvard, and the U.S. Supreme court have shown that there is no link between the two.
Do you believe that the argument against violent games will eventually turn into a full-fledged war that’ll certainly challenge the first amendment in our nation’s constitution? Let us know your thoughts below.