Eleven U.S. state attorneys general have banded together to support the California law that restricts the sale of violent video games to minors, which was struck down by an appeals court but will be reconsidered by the Supreme Court of the United States.
An amicus brief obtained by Gamasutra was filed today by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia. The brief is comprised of arguments to the Supreme Court that the states hope will inform its upcoming decision.
According to those officials, their states are "vitally interested in protecting the welfare of children and in helping parents raise them," but believe that the decision of the appeals court to strike down the law "unreasonably restricts their authority to do that."
They claim that it is "consistent with the First Amendment and this Court’s longstanding precedents" that laws can constitutionally "prevent minors from buying or renting without parental approval a defined class of video games which invite players to commit digital homicide, torture, and rape." Similar laws have been struck down numerous times on constitutional grounds.
In addition to his participation as an amicus curae, Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who hopes to move to the U.S. senate after this year's midterm elections, issued a press release explaining his state's involvement.
"Protecting children from digital danger requires proactive parents -- but they need and deserve help," Blumenthal said. "The video game industry should act responsibly -- play nice, not nasty -- and agree to sensible self-imposed restrictions that block children from buying the most violent games. I am calling on the video game industry to follow the leadership of the motion picture industry, which sensibly stops unattended children from viewing violent or graphic movies."
In fact, the video game industry already maintains "self-imposed restrictions" in the form of the Electronic Software Ratings Board, which was recently praised
by the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the FTC, the "video game industry outpaces the movie and music industries" when it comes to "restricting target-marketing of mature-rated products to children, clearly and prominently disclosing rating information, and restricting children's access to mature-rated products at retail."