California Violent Games Ban Unconstitutional

California passed a law in 2005 that, if it had taken effect, would have prevented minors from being able to purchase violent video games. That law has now been deemed unconstitutional by Federal Judge Ronald Whyte, and cannot take effect unless his decision is overturned.

Left with the options of appealing or drafting a less unconstitutional law, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has opted for an appeal.

Some people might wonder why “The Governator”, who is no stranger to violent media, has taken such a firm stance with video games? Are they any different than movies? Apparently the argument in this case is that games require active participation instead of just passive observation.

Haven't there been about a million and a half studies about this? Judge Ronald Whyte's ruling might have an answer:

"At this point, there has been no showing that violent video games as defined in the Act, in the absence of other violent media, cause injury to children," he wrote in his decision. "In addition, the evidence does not establish that video games, because of their interactive nature or otherwise, are any more harmful than violent television, movies, Internet sites or other speech-related exposures."

"Although some reputable professional individuals and organizations have expressed particular concern about the interactive nature of video games, there is no generally accepted study that supports that concern."

California isn't the only state where a ban on violent or mature video games has been deemed unconstitutional. Last November US District Court Judge George C. Steeh blocked a similar law in Michigan and less than a month ago US District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly delivered a similar ruling in a case concerning a pair of new laws in Illinois.