Government To Fund Research On Video Game Links To Violence

One component of today’s national gun control debate involves the impact of violent video games, as emphasized by President Obama’s announcement that the government will allocate funds to “study the link between video games and violent behavior.” Other lawmakers have introduced plans to tax video games above a certain rating and to put warning labels on ones that contain violent content. 

As reported earlier this week on ETCentric, Rep. Diane Franklin of Missouri is proposing a 1 percent tax on violent video games. “The funds from the tax would go to ‘the treatment of mental health conditions associated with exposure to violent video games,'” reports Forbes.

“The ESA immediately came out with a counter-statement saying that taxing First Amendment protected free speech is wrong, and with the video game industry’s recent Supreme Court win, it’s hard to imagine this bill will get anywhere close to becoming an implemented law,” suggests the article.

Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah is also proposing a bill that would “prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.” (Sales like these are already prohibited, notes Forbes). The bill also calls for warning labels on games that would read: “exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

But until the government-funded research is analyzed or evidence is provided that links gaming to violent acts or mental health issues, these sorts of measures will likely fall short of implementation due to First Amendment protection.