Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has signed into law the State-specific Bill HB30004, which redefines a list of items, such as hardcore pornography, which are deemed “harmful to minors”, to include video games which use “inappropriate violence”.
The bill was authored by Republican State Representative Fred Morgan, and takes a similar stance to Utah Republican David Hogue’s HB257 “games as porn” bill, which was struck down in March, but would have made it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors.
The new Oklahoma law is due to come into effect from November 1st, but is in the meantime likely to be contested by industry body the ESA, under First Amendment concerns. Despite being one of the more draconian anti-games bills put before a State senate HB30004 has faced limited opposition, with apparently little concern being given to the consistent problems other similar bills have faced from legal challenges.
The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence, with stores required to keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The bill ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence.
This definition considers inappropriate any game which “lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic or political value” and which features glamorized or gratuitous violence; uses that violence to shock or stimulate; features violence that is not contextually relevant to the material; has violence so pervasive that it serves as the thread holding the plot of the material together; trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence; does not demonstrate the consequences or effects of realistic violence; uses brutal weapons designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and damage; endorses or glorifies torture or excessive weaponry, or depicts lead characters who resort to violence freely.