ACLU Opposes Bill To Regulate Violent Video Games
Feb 27, 2013 (The Hartford Courant - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said during a public hearing before the joint committee on children Tuesday that the group opposes a bill that would restrict children's access to certain video games.
ACLU lawyer David McGuire noted that the U.S. Supreme Court voted in 2011 that there wasn't sufficient evidence of a link between violent video games and real-life violence, and that games should be treated under the law the same as books and movies.
The bill would restrict children under 18 from playing point-and-shoot video games in public places that feature a simulated gun, such as arcades and movie theaters. It would also create a task force to study the effects of video games on the behavior of those who play them.
State Rep. Whit Betts, R-Bristol, a member of the committee, said the Supreme Court's decision was counterintuitive. He said the issue came down to the "the right to be able to sell their games, versus the right to protect society."
"I know what the law says, but to me it lacks common sense," Betts said.
The committee's co-chairwoman, Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, asked McGuire why children can be turned away from movies rated R and NC-17, but can't be prohibited from playing certain games.
McGuire said that the movie ratings are self-imposed by the industry and that movie theaters voluntarily enforce those ratings although they're not legally bound to do so.
McGuire said he "would take issue" with his own children playing violent video games, "but I really believe it's the right of the parent to decide what games they should play."
Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said she agreed with McGuire about parents' rights, but with so many households in which both parents work full time, it's hard for parents to enforce their decisions.
Brooke Cheney, a resident of Harwinton, said the she didn't like point-and-shoot video games, but that the law would put an unnecessary burden on arcade owners and other small businesses that carry the games. She was, however, in favor of the creation of a task force to study the games.
"It makes much more sense to study something before making any legislation on it," she said.
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