California bans sale of violent video games to minors

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Sunday, October 9, 2005

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that bans the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The bill requires violent video games sold in the state of California to be labeled with a decal reading "18" and makes their sale to a minor punishable by a fine of $1000 per offense.

AB 1179, written by Assemblymember Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), defines a violent video game as one that "enables the player to virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics in a manner which is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim."

The bill also states, "Exposing minors to depictions of violence in video games, including sexual and heinous violence, makes those minors more likely to experience feelings of aggression, to experience a reduction of activity in the frontal lobes of the brain, and to exhibit violent antisocial or aggressive behavior."

The bill will take effect January 1, 2006. Groups opposing the bill, including free speech advocates and the video game industry, already plan to challenge its constitutionality in court.


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