Should Children be Allowed to Buy Violent Video Games?

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that would make it illegal to sell or rent violent video games to minors. Did it make the right decision?

We've all seen the commercials for the latest video game promising of bigger explosions, more innovative ways to kill enemies and deadlier weaponry for maximum carnage.

The games are readily available at places such as and in Roseville, and have many local kids buzzing. They have come under the microscope of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, who wrote a law in 2005 that would make ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.

But today, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, struck down the California law that banned the sale or rental of violent video games to children under the age of 18.

The court majority said the games are protected by the First Amendment right of free speech.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, "Like protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas -- and even social messages.

"That suffices to confer First Amendment protection," Scalia wrote.

The court ruled in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose in 2005 by two industry groups, the Entertainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Software Association.

The high court upheld rulings by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte of San Jose in 2007 and the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco in 2009 that struck down the law.

The 2005 law was authored by Lee, who was then an assemblyman. It was blocked from going into effect by an injunction issued by Whyte.

Do you allow your children to play violent video games? Did the court make the right decision? Share your comments below. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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