Posted on August 6, 2007,

California Lawsuit Banning Sale of Video Games to Minors Is Declared Unconstitutional


Arnie, your law has failed–all you minors out there, rejoice. You can still buy your copy of Grand Theft Auto IV when it comes out, if you manage to get the store clerk to sell you a copy.

Video games are just as harmless, or harmful, as television, the Northern California District Court ruled. Specifically, Judge Ronald M. Whyte wrote in his opinion:

The evidence does not establish that video games, because of their interactive nature or otherwise, are any more harmful than violent television, movies, internet sites or other speech-related exposures.

Although some reputable professional individuals and organizations have expressed particular concern about the interactive nature of video games, there is no generally-accepted study that supports that concern. There has also been no detailed study to differentiate between the effects of violent videos on minors of different ages.

The court, although sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do by the Act, finds that the evidence does not establish the required nexus between the legislative concerns about the well-being of minors and the restrictions on speech required by the Act.

The law was a 2005 bill signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 7th of that year which made illegal the sale of “violent video games” to minors, and handed out fines to any retailer who violated the law. This federal court decision now prohibits California from enforcing that law.

Oh, don’t worry. There will be appeals, and perhaps the 9th Circuit will rule on the decision. And if not them, Leland Yee, Democratic California Senator and founder of the bill, will then try to appeal to the Supreme Court, most likely. That’s where the magic happens.


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3 Comments on California Lawsuit Banning Sale of Video Games to Minors Is Declared Unconstitutional


On August 6, 2007 at 9:50 pm

The great thing about this is that the bevy of other laws that are popping up all over can’t help but take a hit from this ruling. Courts are funny things, and when there’s a precedent set, they tend to stick to it.

I hope that this law doesn’t end up getting struck down. I know the 9th Circuit can do some kooky things, but let’s all pull together and hope that they give this one a pass.


On August 7, 2007 at 7:38 pm

There’s nothing wrong with video games if kids have moral’s driven into there brain by there parents. Thats becuase they know between right and wrong, and thats why younger children are subject to more emotional change then a thirteen year old is becuase these morals have been driven into there brain to know between right and wrong. So I belive that there’s nothing wrong with kids playing games appropiate for there age. Although I am not a expert on this subject and I do play video games so I have a biased opinion.


On May 30, 2008 at 8:58 am

Im a hardcore gamer. Every since i was like 9 im been playing M-rated games. And honestly i think any child can play them if they have the commom sense to no that doing it in real life is wrong.all it takes is commom sense and parents drilling that into they heads at a young age