The State Senate on Monday approved legislation to place restrictions on the sale of violent video games to Oklahoma children.
House Bill 3004, by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan, would add violent video games to the list of products termed “harmful to minors” under state law, making it a crime to sell them to children under the age of 18.
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to pass this legislation and provide protection to our children and familes,” said Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “A mere warning on the sleeve of a game is not adequate to describe much of the violence contained in these games. Games that include the killing of police and other law enforcement officials, for instance, can only have a desensitizing effect on children.”
Coffee added that a number of studies have proven that violent video games can make children more aggressive.
“A number of children that have committed violent crimes have admitted that gruesome acts they’ve seen in video games had a significant impact on their behavior,” Coffee noted.
The measure includes games that lack “serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or political value for minors” under the definition of “inappropriate violence”. The bill would establish a $100 fine for the sale of a violent game to a minor.
Morgan said he was pleased the Senate passed the measure, and pointed to studies that suggest that children exposed to violent behavior in games may be more likely to engage in acts of violence later in life.
“It’s important that we protect children from exposure to what, in many cases, is shocking and gruesome violence,” said Morgan, R-Oklahoma City. “It has become clear, at this point, that the sale of these games to minors carries consequences. Children should not be able to walk into a store and purchase any game that features nudity, drugs and violence, and this bill marks a step to prevent stores from allowing this to occur.”
The measure will return to the House for final approval.
“Clearly, the current warning system has not been sufficient to address this issue – this bill helps parents become aware of what their children are exposed to,” said Coffee.