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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) A California law that bars the sale or rental of excessively violent video games to children is headed for a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court later this year.
San Francisco Senator Leland Yee came up with the concept back in 2005 at the height of the controversy over the extremely violent Grand Theft Auto franchise.
“These are the interactive types where when you push a button, you literally are hurting and doing very bad things to individuals,” said Yee.
The law passed muster in both houses and was signed by the governor, but it never went into effect because it was immediately challenged by the video game industry.
Dan Hsu is the co-founder of the video game website Bitmob.com and said video games have gotten a bad wrap over the years, with no conclusive link between violent games and violent behavior.
“This person might be violent to begin with so those are the kind of studies that we really need to look at closely to make sure we’re not overreacting and just throwing down laws because we’re sacred of something that we don’t quite understand,” said Hsu.
Hsu said there is already a workable rating system in place that limits who can buy or rent which games and retailers are also more in tune with these regulations.
A federal judge struck down Yee’s law in 2005, than last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concurred.
But new life was breathed into the effort this year when justices with the Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue.
“The Supreme Court, on a number of occasions, has struck down other kinds of laws that banned or limited the First Amendment,” said Yee.
The state filed its brief last Monday and opponents of the law have until September 10 to file their brief. Oral arguments are expected sometime this fall.