Republican Lee Terry and Democrat Jim Matheson have introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives which would require all video game retailers to make identification checks on those buying video games intended for adults.
According to a Variety report, the proposed Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act would require ID checks for any game rated M for mature or AO (adults only) and would also require stores to prominently display explanations of the existing ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) ratings system. Failure to comply in either case would result in a $5,000 fine.
Terry is optimistic that the act will not fall foul of first amendment concerns because it does not attempt to rate or define the content itself, but instead legally enforce the existing age ratings. The bill has already gained support from the Parents Television Council.
â€œThe images and themes in some video games are shocking and troublesome. In some games, high scores are often earned by players who commit â€˜virtualâ€™ murder, assault and rape,â€ said Terry.
â€œMany young children are walking into stores and are able to buy or rent these games without their parents even knowing about it. Many retailers have tried to develop voluntary policies to make sure mature games do not end up in the hands of young kids, but we need to do more to protect our children,â€ he added.
I've seen a lot of gamers say they support this, and I don't understand why. I couldn't be more against it. It's such a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. I mean, it's not like the 1st Amendment has unclear wording, or a gray area or something. It's perfectly, brilliantly clear:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
You can't restrict speech! Ever! In any way! If you do support this, please tell me how morally you can possibly think it's a good thing to have government deciding what speech may be consumed by individuals, and how you think it's constitutional in light of the 1st Amendment.