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.