In a vote of 102 to zero, The Louisiana Legislature passed a bill yesterday allowing a judge to deem certain video games unfit for sale. The bill allows for fines up to $2,000 and even jail time for retailers caught selling such games, the Associated Press reported.
According to the bill (HB 1381), a judge may determine a game unfit for sale if it is “offensive to prevailing standards,” and if it appeals “to the minor's morbid interest in violence.” Any such game could be ordered off store shelves. Any retailers in violation of this order could face fines between $100 and $2,000 and up to a year in prison.
Several members of The House questioned the bill’s constitutionality, but in the end all 102 of them voted in favor of the bill sponsored by Rep. Roy Burrell (Democrat-Shreveport).
The Entertainment Software Association, the videogame industry's trade group, responded to the bill’s passage stating it was no different than others that have passed the legislature before only to be struck down later for violating First Amendment rights.
“Six courts in five years have blocked or struck down similar laws and notably all have resoundingly rejected the unpersuasive claims made by states that violent video games cause aggression," said the ESA in its statement. "We believe that a combination of parental choice and parental control is the only legal, sensible, and most importantly effective way to help parents keep inappropriate video games from children, and we dedicate ourselves to working with all parties to accomplish this goal."
The bill still must pass in the State Senate to become law, but it faces competition in the form of another bill designed to target sexually explicit games and not violent ones.