California is seeking to revive an anti-violent-video-game law that would prevent anyone aged under 18 from purchasing or renting video games that "appeal to a deviant or morbid interest of children and are patently offensive to prevailing community standards."
The proposed law requires that publishers put an "18" label on the covers of games deemed excessively violent. Retailers who violate the law, allowing minors to purchase games marked "18," would face a $1,000 fine.
Sen. Leland Yee, who wrote the legislation, told the San Jose Mercury News, "This is the same technology the armed forces use to help soldiers kill the enemy. All we're saying is, 'Don't sell it to kids.'
Originally introduced in 2005, the law was given a preliminary injunction shortly afterwards and then a permanent injunction in 2007 after courts ruled that the law threatens the free-speech rights of video game companies and that there was insufficient evidence of a connection between violent video games and children engaging in violent activities.
Both the movie and music industries have also voiced displeasure with the law, arguing that it is too broad and that it could affect the sale of other media depicting graphic violence.
On October 29, 2008 in a Sacramento hearing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans to review the ruling which found that the law violated the First Amendment.
"The same argument has been made again and again throughout the history of the country about books, about movies, about comic books and now about video games," says Entertainment Consumers Association director Jennifer Mercurio. "The way this law is drafted comes up against hundreds of years of First Amendment issues."