Oklahoma legislator proposes violent game tax

Representative Will Fourkiller, a Democrat Oklahoma legislator, has introduced a bill that proposes to add a one percent excise tax on all "violent video games," claiming that video games can lead to obesity and bullying.

"A gentleman shot a police officer and stole his car," Fourkiller said to KFOR. "He had been playing Grand Theft Auto." Fourkiller also expressed disbelief that a video game called Bully actually exists, rounding out the requisite Rockstar whipping boys so often trotted out as examples of an evil industry, or at best a careless one.

Fourkiller claims that he is not targeting the video game industry with the bill, even though he does still want to tax violent games. The collected tax money would go toward Oklahoma's Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund and the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund to fight bullying and obesity, two things Fourkiller claimed, citing unspecified research, that video games can lead to.

The bill is HB2696 (RTF document) and defines a "violent video game" as "a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature or Adult [sic] Only." This broad definition could potentially include such titles as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and The Sims 3.

House Bill 2696 is being proposed under "emergency" rules, which means that it is "immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety," according to the bill's text. It will need a majority of votes in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate before being sent to the governor. If it does not receive the required three-fourths majority in both houses, it will be decided by Oklahoma voters on the November ballot.

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