Illinois Video Game Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Governor Blagojevich plans to appeal a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly that deemed the Illinois restrictions on sales were unconstitutional.

“This battle is not over,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “Parents should be able to expect that their kids will not have access to excessively violent and sexually explicit video games without their permission.”

He also added excessively violent movie tickets, DVDs, books, magazines, and cable television would be added to the list.

No, wait. That would be logically consistent. I made that part up.

Anyway, my favorite part from the article:

“In this country, the state lacks the authority to ban protected speech on the ground that it affects the listener’s or observer’s thoughts and attitudes,” Kennelly wrote.

Of course, what impact will it have on banning indecent material, such as porn? Wasn’t the point of doing so to prevent children from “being led astray”? You know, by affecting their thoughts and attitudes?

I didn’t read the official ruling, but I would think that that statement alone might do more than expected. Was it careless? I’m not a lawyer, but I think it was.

At the same time, while I am not a parent, I am not sure that I would want my government dictating to me what my children should and shouldn’t be able to see, read, or hear. No porn? No violent content? Yeah, I’ll just ban it in my own home, thank you very much.

Of course, banning the sales of such games to minors wasn’t really going to have a huge effect. Most of the time the parents buy the games for them anyway, and according to some anecdotal reports, they buy them even if the clerk at GameStop asks, “Are you sure it’s appropriate?” So how does the law help parents be better parents?

It doesn’t.

So why am I upset about such a law? If it wouldn’t have a big effect anyway, why oppose it?

Because if this law is allowed, then what’s to prevent someone from going further the next time? Will the actual development of violent games be banned next because the previous was found to not be good enough? Will the government actually be able to accurately rate games as appropriate or not, or will it just use vague language to cause a lot of confusion, resulting in the banning of games like Super Smash Bros Melee along with Mortal Kombat and GTA?

The government has enough problems and issues to deal with. Parenting is a tough job, and the government is not going to be able to do it.