US retail body slams resurrected violent game legislation

Halpin lashes out at "me-too politics" as Yee promotes reworded bill in California

The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, a US body which represents videogame retailers, has criticised efforts in California to legislate against the sale of violent games to minors, describing it as "frivolous and irresponsible".

Describing the bill being proposed to the state Assembly as "a legislative course proven unconstitutional time and again," IEMA president Hal Halpin accused its proponent, Leland Yee, of "me-too politics in a vain effort for local politicians to garner some perceived moral high ground when clearly there is none to be had."

Yee, a trained child psychologist and member of the California state Assembly, proposed a similar bill banning the sale of violent games last year, but it was voted down; however, a second bill demanding clearer display and explanation of the ESRB ratings was passed.

This second attempt at passing the law has been approved by the state's Parent-Teachers and Girl Scouts associations, among others, and its backers believe that changes to the wording of the bill will be enough to see it through the Assembly.

The bill would amend the definition of "harmful matter to children" under Californian law to include any videogames which "depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel", and would levy fines of up to $1,000 against retailers who sold such products to minors.

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