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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 3, March 2013, Posted On: 3/5/2013

Connecticut Weighs Ban On Arcade Gun Games; Sin Taxes And Taskforces Target 'Violent' Home Games In 2 States

Marcus Webb
TAGS: video game ban, video game, arcade video game, violent videogame, violence in media, shooting video game, Toni Nathaniel Harp, point-and-shoot videogame, American Civil Liberties Union, free speech, First Amendment, video game sin tax, Missouri video game tax, Diane Franklin, Entertainment Software Rating Board, Entertainment Software Association

HARTFORD, CT and JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Connecticut State Sen. Toni Nathaniel Harp (D-10th Dist.) has introduced a bill (SB 328) that proposes to ban players under 18 from "using violent point-and-shoot videogames in public arcades."

In Feb. 26 hearings about the bill, an attorney from the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union warned that such a ban would be unconstitutional. The ACLU representative pointed to a 2011 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that established laws banning child access to "violent" games are unconstitutional and that videogames are protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

The Connecticut bill would also create the Violent Videogame Task Force to study so-called "violent" videogames and recommend actions that the governor and Legislature can take to protect children from any harmful effects that may be derived from playing such games.

As previously reported by Vending Times, another Connecticut state lawmaker has proposed a 10% tax on the purchase of any "violent" consumer videogame sold in the state. | SEE STORY

A similar tax was proposed Jan. 14 in Missouri by state Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton). House Bill 157 would impose a 1% tax on "violent" consumer videogames. It defines "violent" games as those that carry voluntary ratings of Teen, Mature or Adults Only, as designated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, an industry group.

If the Missouri bill becomes law, revenues generated by it would be set aside for mental health programs and law enforcement efforts aimed at preventing mass shootings. The Entertainment Software Association, which runs the software ratings board, said the law "will end up costing Missouri taxpayers."

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