As widely predicted, officials from U.S. industry body the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) have confirmed that the organization will be filing a suit against the state of Oklahoma in opposition of law HB3004, which groups violent video games into the same category of proscribed media as hardcore pornography.
As previously reported, the bill was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry and is due to come into effect on November 1st, 2006. The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence. The bill ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence.
According to a statement from ESA president Doug Lowenstein to multiple media outlets: "We believe HB3400 will restrict the First Amendment rights of Oklahoma's citizens and intend to file suit in Oklahoma federal district court shortly, asking that the state's new video game law be overturned.”
The ESA’s legal challenge is almost certain to succeed, with First Amendment rights already have been well established as an impediment to similar laws in other states.
"We hope that sooner or later state legislators and candidates will stop trying to seek headlines by subverting the constitution and frittering away desperately needed taxpayer dollars and instead enter into a constructive partnership to educate parents about the tools available so they, not government, can raise their kids as they see fit," Lowenstein added.