The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the case of a challenge to California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.
The law, which was passed in 2005 but has so far been prevented from taking effect, would fine retailers up to $1,000 for each instance in which they sell such titles to anyone younger than 18 and created strict labeling requirements for game manufacturers.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional on free speech grounds — which is interesting, as The Associated Press reports, because the high court just last week cited similar concerns in voting overwhelmingly to strike down a federal ban on videos depicting animal cruelty.
The California video game law was based on studies linking violent games to aggression, antisocial behavior and desensitization to violence. That courts have rejected such a ban before shows that such evidence isn’t regarded as proof of a connection between playing and doing. Now the Supreme Court has a chance to address this issue on a national stage, and we will be watching closely as the case unfolds again.
Ultimately, who is responsible for keeping mature content out of the hands of our children?