Washington, D.C. Closer to Adopting Municipal Video Game Law

The Washington, D.C. City Council is pushing ahead with legislation designed to block kids from buying violent video games.

As reported by The Hill, the proposed law is known as the Youth Protection from Obscene Video Games Act.

Currently in committee, the measure is sponsored by Council member Adrian Fenty (left), who is expected to win election as D.C.’s mayor on November 7th.

The bill uses the industry’s own ESRB ratings as a guide, which is legally problematic. Case law has established that a private standard cannot be the basis for public law.

Fines proposed under the bill could be up to $10,000 for those who sell M-rated titles to underage buyers. In addition, non-retailers (such as, say, parents) who provide M-rated games to a child under 17 could be hit with a $1,000 fine.

Councilman Fenty discounted the constitutional issues at a recent hearing:

“I’m, ready, willing, and able to pass this legislation and let the courts decide whether or not the video-game industry should be held to the same standard they’ve already agreed to.

Fenty has been working on the video game violence issue for some time. GamePolitics previously covered a June, 2005 hearing on the measure. A video of that proceeding (lengthy, but well worth watching) featrues testimony from the Peaceoholics community group as well as from the ESA and ACLU.

UPDATE: We apologoze for linking the wrong hearing. Here’s the correct link

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