Why Don't NY State Senators Just Go Ahead And Hand The Money To Video Game Lawyers?

from the missed-a-day-in-civics-class dept

About a month ago, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer said pushing an unconstitutional ban on selling certain video games to minors through the state’s legislature was one of his top priorities. State senators there are doing their part, taking just four days to get the bill passed after it was introduced. Perhaps in their haste, the senators missed the fact that, as written, the law is certain to get struck down by the courts, just like they have everywhere else that’s passed them. The measure moves on to the state assembly for consideration now, and hopefully lawmakers there will realize that all passing it will do is set taxpayers up for a big legal bill. But with so many brownie points on offer, and the memory of the Virginia Tech tragedy still fresh for bastardization in people’s minds, that seems pretty unlikely.

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Comments on “Why Don't NY State Senators Just Go Ahead And Hand The Money To Video Game Lawyers?”

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Lawl says:

Your right anonymous coward, its all about the brownie points and staying in office. Its like that on both sides of the political parties. I think what they are banking on is the whole VTech incident and using that and hoping people wont mind. Personally I think that it should be illegal to sell M rated games to minors, but its not the governments job to monitor what kids are playing. Its up to the parents to regulate what their kids are playing or watching on the TV. Parents seem to think that the television is a good substitude for parental interaction.

Jim Norton says:

Re: Re:

First, is it actually unconstitutional to prevent selling of porn to children, or is it simply illegal (ditto for video games, R-rated movies, etc)? Second, video games may contain lots of violence, but rarely contain hardcore pornography, unless they are specifically tailored to deliver it.

Furthermore, the level of violence in most video games already exists on free television which is not regulated to that degree. So the precedent has been set. What’s the point of regulating the consumption of video games to minors when you don’t do the same to more readily accessible media like television?

Disagree says:

Matt Bennett and Jim Norton

Matt: It’s constitutional to restrict minors’ access to porn because porn is “obscene” content, and obscenity is not protected speech under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court defines obscene to pretty much mean “sexually obscene.” This is where video game laws run into trouble, since they’re always opposing “violent” video games.

Jim: Clearly, you haven’t been playing video games recently. Go play games like Postal and Grand Theft Auto. I guarantee that you will not find that level of violence OR obscenity in any television show (public or cable) or rated film.

Furthermore, games are different from television and film. The repetitive action and focus on honing skills makes them more of a learning tool than simply watching a TV series (where each episode is different and probably watched only once) or a movie. The U.S. military uses a console video game system to improve soldiers’ shooting accuracy and instincts, for Pete’s sake.

I think that the video game laws that have been proposed to date are unconstitutional, because they’re overly broad and don’t know what the heck they’re trying to regulate. But I do think that access by minors to SOME of these games could and should be restricted under the same rationale we use to restrict minors’ access to porn, alcohol, tobacco, and sex.

Oh, and the government also restricts the time slots in which radio and tv shows can broadcast content unsuitable to minors, so the whole video game thing really isn’t as outrageous as you might think.

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