A few weeks ago, tragedy struck a small school in Connecticut. The Sandy Hook Elementary School was the scene of a massacre that saw 20 children and six adults murdered by a gunman. Naturally, the gunman played games at some point in his life (and honestly, in this day and age that’s like saying he watched TV this one time) and so naturally video game violence is back on the table in US government debates.
Now, in a direct response to the Sandy Hook shooting, a Republican politician from Missouri has called for a sales tax on violent video games. The proposed bill classifies violent video games as such: “the term ‘violent video game’ means a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature, or Adult Only.” This means that super-gory, murder simulators like Guitar Hero and The Sims 3 will cost an extra 1% in sin tax. Yeah – they’ve thought this through, clearly.
The money gleaned from this proposed taxation would then go towards state-funded aid to people suffering “mental health problems” as a result of violent games.
Republicans aren’t the only ones proposing stricter laws around the gaming industry; Democrat congressman Jim Matheson has introduced the “H.R. 287” bill, which aims to turn ESRB rating guidelines into law.
The ESRB game rating system makes it a requirement to have game ratings on all published video games. It also prohibits the sale of Adult Only rated games to children. These are both, however, merely requirements – this proposed bill turns these requirements into a legal thing, which means any shop or publisher caught not following ESRB guidelines, will face legal action.