Felony to Sell Video Games in New York?
New York Assembly passed a bill today, May 31st, that could make it possible to charge retailers who sell an M Rated game to a minor with a felony. Assemblymen from the state of New York were heard discussing the unconstitutional clauses in the law, but then turned around to say that they were voting FOR the bill. The law passed today by an overwhelming vote of 130-10.
The Entertainment Merchants Association's (EMA) President, Bo Anderson, delivered an immediate reprisal of the bill, saying "This bill is ill-conceived and unconstitutional. The proposal to jail retailers and clerks for up to four years for selling certain video games to persons under age 17 is apparently based on misunderstandings about what retailers are doing currently."
He also said that "This bill is impermissibly vague. A8696 seeks to apply real-world standards of violence to the fictional and fanciful world of video games, an environment in which they have no meaning. As a result, retailers and clerks will not and cannot know with certainty which video games could send them to jail under A8696. It was depressing to hear members of the Assembly note the constitutional problems with the bill and then state that they were voting for it."
In my opinion this whole thing is crazy. There have already been cases in the past where laws were passed, later to be overturned in court for being unconstitutional. During these legal battles , hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are paying for lawyers to defend legislation that should not have been passed in the first place (for lawyers on both sides; see the case in which Illinois paid the video game industry half a million dollars in lawyer fees). Why place laws to restrict video games when there aren't any for movies? And why continue to try when it has already been shown to be unconstitutional? To me it's a waste of the taxpayers' dollars, and simply shameful for Americans to continue to have attacks such as these on our constitutional rights. This law will be fought in court, and will cost the taxpayers of New York thousands of dollars that need not be spent defending a bill that will inevitably be overturned in a court of the people.
How do I know this? Since 2001 there have bene NINE rulings against the restriction of video games due to being unconstitutional. States that have lost court battles include Louisianna, Minnesota, Michigan, California, Illinois, Washington, and other local court battles.