Connecticut State Senator Seeks To Ban Minors From Playing Arcade Games Utilizing Fake Guns

from the does-this-include-banning-'point-and-shoot'-cameras? dept

It seems like a hardly a day goes by without someone, somewhere proposing some sort of legislation to regulate video games. The latest (but certainly not the last) legislation comes to us courtesy of Connecticut State Senator Toni Harp. Entitled "An Act Concerning Minors and Violent Point-and-Shoot Video Games," Harp's bill seeks to ban minors from operating violent video games in public. More specifically, it seeks to take the play guns out of kids' hands, while presumably leaving them free to de-spine each other at the Mortal Kombat upright.
(b) No owner or operator of any public establishment or amusement arcade shall allow any individual under eighteen years of age to operate a violent point-and-shoot video game on the premises of such establishment or arcade.
The offending devices that may not be pointed-and-shot by minors are as follows:
(a) For purposes of this section, "facsimile of a firearm" means (1) any imitation of a firearm, as defined in subdivision (19) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes, which was manufactured, designed and produced since 1898, or (2) any representation of a firearm, other than an imitation of an original firearm, that a reasonable person would understand was intended to depict a weapon of violence; and "violent point-and-shoot video game" means any electronic gaming device that utilizes a facsimile of a firearm as an essential component of game play.
This rules out such offenders as House of the Dead and Area 51, but also other, non-human-killing games like Jurassic Park, Big Buck Hunter, Nintendo's Duck Hunt (for arcades with a retro vibe) and, presumably, Michael Cimino's Deer Hunter Arcade.

If a public establishment does allow the under-18 crowd to start pointing-and-shooting, there will be consequences.
Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall have committed an infraction.
(..and will have to go sit in the corner for a 15-minute "time out" or serve as the sole host of a child's birthday party, whichever is more severe. Six infractions in six months will result in the offender becoming a permanent member of the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic band.)

Presumably, the real fines/jail time/conversion to a cyborg trapped in kids' birthday hell will be added to the bill at a future date. But there's more to this bill than disarming teens and tweens. Senator Harp has also borrowed a bit from the President's call for a study of the link between violent media (including violent video games) and actual violence. Harp's version, however, gets rid of anything related to "violent media" and concentrates solely on video games.
Sec. 2. (Effective October 1, 2013) (a) There is established a Violent Video Game Task Force within the Department of Children and Families to study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior...
(b) The Violent Video Game Task Force shall: (1) Study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior; (2) make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor for new or enhanced policies to address the findings of the task force; (3) gather and maintain current information regarding violent video games that can be used to better understand the impact of violent video games on youth behavior; and (4) advise the General Assembly and Governor concerning the coordination and administration of state programs that may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior.
Here's the kicker, though:
(c) Not later than October 1, 2014, the task force shall submit in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes a report to the General Assembly and the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children specifying the task force's findings and recommendations pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
That's right. The bill will first enact a blanket ban on shooting games (using "point-and-shoot" gun "facsimiles") and then start looking into the question of whether or not there's a connection between violent arcade games and violence. It's almost literally a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach (except without the shooting). All this bill does is present a foregone conclusion and ask for it to be preemptively enforced. The statement of purpose doesn't even try to hide this fact:
To prevent minors from using violent point-and-shoot video games in public arcades and to create a task force to study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior.
In Harper's mind (and bill), the facts, whatever they may be, simply do not matter. Kids are forbidden from playing "gun games" in public. Full stop. Why even bother proposing a study? She's already made her decision. This is the kind of baseline, weightless lip service that makes regular glad-handing, fundraising lip service look sincere and upstanding.

Even the wording for the "study" itself forces me to throw scare quotes around the word: "gather... information... that can be used to better understand the impact of violent video games on youth behavior." It's accepted that there's an "impact." "Coordination and administration of state programs that may reduce the effects of violent video game on youth behavior." Again, 100% chance there's an "effect," so let's work to "reduce" it.

I don't have a problem with someone commissioning a study on the connection between violent video games and acts of violence. But when someone starts with a ban and then stacks the deck to justify a ridiculous ban, it's only going to return the results the commissioning politician is looking for. If it doesn't, it will simply be back-burnered until the public eye is distracted elsewhere.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 7:09am

    But when someone starts with a ban and then stacks the deck to justify a ridiculous ban, it's only going to return the results the commissioning politician is looking for.

    Banning it doesn't already bias the results? Wouldn't you need to evaluate groups that are exposed to such things that the bill seeks to ban and groups that are not exposed?????

    Also, he forgot very important things. Since the idea is to be as stupid as possible why not to ban using Wiimotes and other motion devices as weapons (Zelda's shooting game comes to mind here)? Why not ban Knect shooting games? Heck, just ban children from the world, sounds easier.

     

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  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    "just ban children from the world, sounds easier."

    Future Generations will thank us! - Stan Smith.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Video games are the real killer in our society. Murder has nothing to do with people making a choice to take a life, it is the fault of video games, movies, TV shows, books, and music.

    BAN ALL CULTURE, IT IS A KILLER!!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Shoot first ask questions later.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Ban senetors over the age of 30.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Wally (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    There is still severe emotional bias towards the Sandy Hook shooting in the Connecticut State Senate and people are acting on it. Some of the extreme liberal left are using Sandy Hook to push their own agenda...which is that the world doesn't need guns.

    I particularly enjoy Cabella's Big Game Hunter 2010 because it came with a shotgun attachment which made the game play a lot easier to deal with.

    Noting that....I have family in Chardon, Ohio which was the big story last year. They continued on with their lives and no gun bans were asked for by any of the victim's parents.

    Connecticut is overreacting and is fueled by emotional bias and assholes stepping in trying to use a tragedy to push their agenda.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Wait, wait, wait...

    There are still arcades open somewhere in this country?! Or does this law only apply to the nineties and earlier?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Danger Will Rogers

    I know its "Robinson"...
    "There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
    Will Rogers

    This kind of crap is given a voice due to ignorant voters putting this moron into office. We The People are to blame for not doing our citizen duties to protect the Republic from likes of this zealot and thieves like Jessie Jackson Jr.

     

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  9.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Three things

    First, when I was young, I went to arcades and played violent point and shoot games like Space Invaders. I didn't turn out to go on a rampage shooting people. I also played other violent games such as Frogger.

    Second, wouldn't a ban on games with fake guns put an unfair economic burden on the game developers to alter the design of their games to use real guns?

    Third, although the use of real guns in video games might be greeted wholeheartedly by the NRA, is it the government's business to dictate how video games are designed?

     

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  10.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    They pick on video games as the cause of violence.

    Funny how they don't pick on movies (MPAA) or music with violent lyrics (RIAA).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:26am

    (b) The Violent Video Game Task Force shall: (1) Study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior; (2) make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor for new or enhanced policies to address the findings of the task force; (3) gather and maintain current information regarding violent video games that can be used to better understand the impact of violent video games on youth behavior; and (4) advise the General Assembly and Governor concerning the coordination and administration of state programs that may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior.

    1. Okay, whatever, let's pretend this has never been done before and that all of the findings did not undermine the idea that violent video games negatively influence behaviour.
    2. These recommendations only cover "new" and "enhanced" policies. Nevermind that, especially given the policy already implemented in this very bill, it may very well be better to recommend repealing such nonsense. Laws may only be created or strengthened.
    3. The impact of violent video games on behaviour is a foregone conclusion; it is our task to understand it.
    4. Since this already-existent impact is obviously bad, these advisements (and subsequent tax-dollar-burning state programs!) must determine how the impact can be reduced, since reducing bad things is good.

     

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  12.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Re: Three things

    I also played other violent games such as Frogger.

    I'm betting you are the socially disabled person that keeps trying to walk to the other sides of ever increasing difficulty and traffic roads and highways while wearing a frog costume am I right? Because you know, VIDEO GAMES!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:28am

    What the fuck is going on in New England right now?

     

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  14.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    They used to, don't you remember? And before that, it was comic books. Before that, it was cheap paperbacks. And so on, and so forth.

     

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  15.  
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    Jesse (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:34am

    You'll have to pry Duck Hunt from my cold, lifeless hands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    radarmonkey (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:36am

    New Laws

    Proposed new law:
    No official, in any capacity at the Fedaral, State, or local level, shall propose a law without first posting bond sufficient enough (a) to replace all Irony Meters broken, and (b) to cover any and all medical expenses incurred from the mass facepalm resulting from such a proposed legislation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:38am

    it's so much easier for this type of thing to get banned by Senators than them having to do something that would actually be beneficial, like stopping companies from buying votes and bribing politicians!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:46am

    I wonder if the Senator would like to explain why kids in Canada, the UK, and Australia are able to play violent video games that American children cannot. What's the problem with American kids?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:48am

    I hope they do actually figure out a way to BAN CHILDREN from playing violent video games. All they do is constantly bunny hop (not a legitimate tactic) and whine when you frag em. These games should be for mature players only.

    Thank you, (now back to Alpha testing Defiance)

     

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  20.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:49am

    This article is proof we need to re-introduce child labour. Whenever a bill is introduced, a child must read it, and then tell the senator/whoever "That doesn't make sense!"

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    Snowing

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:51am

    Re:

    They are working on it...its called Copyright law....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:53am

    And I had a good idea....

    3D duck hunt played in a huge hall like laser tag.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:53am

    I propose a law banning senators from playing politician using fake brains.

     

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  25.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    Usually the parents....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re:

    ^^^^^^^

    That and, the Patriots F'ed up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Well that's just great.

    Where are future generations going to practice their mad gun skills if not in the arcades? Connecticut is going to be a pretty quiet place come the zombie apocalypse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Think locally, act locally.

    That's one advantage to having independent states. Liberals on the east coast can run amok without it having too much impact on me. Although they tend to forget that they have their own states where they can set their own rules.

    National hysteria is simply not necessary.

    They can run their affairs they way they want. As blue as their states are, that should be a much easier thing for them to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re: Wait, wait, wait...

    There are still places like Putt Putt.

    Very few dedicated arcades still exist.

    Although your local 7-11 or malt shop might have a video game in the corner. It might even have a light gun.

    Although modern children might think it too rudimentary... '-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Gun range anyone?

    So they cannot play duck hunt, but they can go to an actual gun range and practice all they want...

    I think there should be a penalty for proposing really stupid laws. Perhaps that Check E Cheese idea could be of some use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    TAKUMI (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:29am

    What exactly is an "imitation of an original firearm"?

    Is it an imaginary firearm, a firearm that looks just like the original, or something else entirely?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

    No fakes

    So why don't they just mount real guns up and modify them to work with the arcade game and remove the firing pin or something?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

    I would just put a pillow around all the guns in my arcade.

    "It's not violent! It's just a pillow with sights sticking out. Those aren't gun bullets on the screen, they're soft pillow bullets filled with cherry jam, which explains the blood, I mean JAM!"

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re:

    So then isn't that what the Senator should be trying to fix?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Mike, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:55am

    This is the kind of baseline, weightless lip service that makes regular glad-handing, fundraising lip service look sincere and upstanding.

    LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Some Other AC (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    You mean the paternal and maternal biological DNA donors?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 11:24am

    They haven't banned kids from using the real thing.

    I wonder if the kids will get their fix for shooting at the local firing ranges? As long as you can drive you can shoot. If you don't own a gun you can rent one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You can't get votes by telling people that their problems are their own fault.

    You can get votes by providing people with a scapegoat to blame their problems on. In addition to garnering votes, this does nothing to solve the problem, which guarantees future opportunities to garner more votes by providing more scapegoats.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Just re-design all the 'fake guns' to be plastic flowers....

    You know the kind, like the old daisy's that squirted water, just put a daisy head on the end of a long stem with a handle and trigger....

    Problem solved, we aren't teaching kids to be violent gun toting terrorists, we are teaching them to water the flowerbeds with those stinking Nazi's (yes I goodwin'd it for extra points...)

    Okay, who's going to be 'pushing up daisy's' next???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: They haven't banned kids from using the real thing.

    Nah. The only people at arcades these days are grownups on nostalgia trips. The kids are probably playing FPSes at home; PlanetSide 2, Borderlands 2, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Mega1987 (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    another bill just to waste the people's money on useless things...

    the ban ain't gonna stop those who want to play FPS with or without a handheld gun-like apparatus.

    what next? ban all FPS desktop and Online games? You're just asking for trouble from their companies mate that some have back some of your dumbass bills and petitions in the past...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, they should get a good quarterback then instead of Tom Brady.

    He's atrocious in the 4th quarter. Even Mark Sanchez was better than he was in the 4th quarter last year.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    quawonk, Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 7:21am

    It's the fake guns, not the real ones, that are the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Feb 24th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Blame where blame should be

    When we have a tragedy society blames guns, video games, media, parents, etc.
    Never do we place blame where it should be: With the person who pulled the trigger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Feb 24th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    I was all set to hear a one sided argument...

    This looks like the most recent 'games in politics' article, so I'll post here.

    I just watched a fair discussion on violent games on Face the Nation. If ANYONE had a pre-formed "games are bad" idea, it was the host (couldn't tell if he was playing Devils Advocate or not). EVERY guest pushed back on his leading questions. With, gasp, FACTS!

    They pointed out that not only isn't correlation causation, but the evidence shows the opposite. They brought up that other countries, some of which play MORE games, have lower crime rates. They pointed out maybe it has something to do w/ the parents; one even brought up that if kids play shooters w/ the parents, some turn out even better & may volunteer, etc. They even brought up the ESRB, & how parents should go by that, & maybe even check reviews -- you know, be a/n [informed] parent!

    & why is it that the MEDIA can't remember that games have a better & more detailed ratings system than movies? That ALWAYS seems to get forgotten. It isn't the industry's fault that parents & the media refuse to read, or don't know what M means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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