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Court strikes down California video-game law


In a decision that could have a far-reaching effect on other states’ efforts, a federal appeals court on Feb. 20 struck down a California law that sought to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, reports the Associated Press. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2005 law violates minors’ rights under the Constitution’s First and 14th amendments. The three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling upholds an earlier ruling in U.S. District Court. The law would have prohibited the sale or rental of violent games to anyone under 18. It also would have created strict labeling requirements for video-game manufacturers.
In a written opinion, Judge Consuelo Callahan said there were less restrictive ways to protect children from "unquestionably violent" video games. For example, the justices said the industry has a voluntary rating system, and that parents can block certain games on video consoles. The law’s author, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said he wanted Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder," Yee, a child psychologist, said in a statement. California lawmakers had approved the law, in part, by relying on studies suggesting violent games can be linked to aggression, anti-social behavior and desensitization to violence. The justices dismissed that research. "None of the research establishes or suggests a causal link between minors playing violent video games and actual psychological or neurological harm, and inferences to that effect would not be reasonable," Callahan said in her ruling…

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