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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    DanC, 18 Mar 2008 @ 6:51am

    Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    It doesn't really matter if it's "constitutional" or not because constitutional rights don't apply in times of war.

    While historically some constitutional rights have been suspended during times of war, that hardly means that constitutional rights don't apply.

    You do know that the US is at war, don't you?

    If you feel like discarding your rights, that's your business. Being at war does not give the federal government carte blanche to do whatever it likes to its citizens.

    Please pick up a book on the U.S. government and read it so you can make valid points instead of uneducated nonsense.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.