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Illinois Governor Seeks to Ban Violent, Sexually Explicit Video Games From Minors

16 Dec, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich announced today proposed legislation that would make it a crime in that state to rent, sell or otherwise distribute violent or sexually explicit video games to minors.

The governor will introduce two bills during the upcoming legislative session: one that bans the availability of violent video games to children younger than 18 and another that bans the availability of sexually explicit video games to children younger than 18. “Violent” games would be defined as those realistically depicting human-on-human violence in which the player kills, injures, or otherwise causes physical harm to another human. “Sexually explicit” games would be defined as those realistically depicting male or female genitalia and other nudity exposed in a way that, in accordance with contemporary community standards, predominantly appeals to the prurient interest of the player.

The likely penalty for violating the bans would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison or a $5,000 fine.

The legislation would also require more stringent packaging on any games deemed violent or sexually explicit.

The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) issued a statement lining up against the potential legislation.

“The portion of the proposed bill that seeks to restrict the sale or rental of ‘violent' video games is clearly unconstitutional. This type of legislation has been tried before, and in every instance the courts have struck down the legislation. In each of those cases, the governments ended up reimbursing the organizations that challenged the laws for their legal fees. VSDA suggests that the resources of the people of the state of Illinois could be put to better use.”

The VSDA statement also pointed out that video retailers already participate in a voluntary policing of extreme content for minors, and that the ultimate responsibility for which games children are allowed to play should fall in the purview of their parents.

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