The Constitution Still Doesn't Let States Stop Kids From Buying Video Games
from the for-those-who-weren't-paying-attention-the-first-dozen-times dept
Again? State after state after state has passed laws that ban the sale of certain video games to children, and time after time after time those laws are struck down as unconstitutional. Not a single one has passed muster, and yet court time and taxpayer money is wasted over and over again on these same issues, with at least 10 states having gone through the same process with the same results. States cannot ban the sale of video games to children. It’s a violation of the First Amendment. This does not mean that stores themselves can’t make such a policy, just as movie theaters have voluntarily (not based on a law) agreed not to let kids see movies of certain ratings. But to pass a law is unconstitutional. A lower court in Minnesota made that clear in 2006 — but it didn’t stop the politicians from appealing… and losing. Yes, a federal appeals court has agreed with the lower court that banning the sale of video games is not constitutional. While the lower court had noted:
“There is a paucity of evidence linking the availability of video games with any harm to Minnesota’s children at all…. It is impossible to determine from the data presented whether violent video games cause violence, or whether violent individuals are attracted to violent video games.”
The appeals court was a little less direct:
“Whatever our intuitive (dare we say commonsense) feelings regarding the effect of violent video games, precedent requires undeniable proof that such violence causes psychological dysfunction….”
Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, there still is no evidence linking violent video games to violent behavior. In fact, as has been pointed out repeatedly, violent crime has continued to drop as violent video games have become more and more popular. At most, studies have shown that violent video games make people emotional, but that doesn’t lead to increased violent activity outside of the game itself. Of course, that won’t stop grandstand politicians from pushing for such violent video game bans, despite the knowledge that they’re clearly wasting taxpayer money every time they do so.