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.
“The images and themes in some video games are shocking and troublesome. In some games, high scores are often earned by players who commit ‘virtual’ murder, assault and rape,” said Terry.
“Many 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,” he added.