A Rhode Island Bill that proposes fines and possible jail time for retail employees that sell Mature(M) or Adults Only (AO) rated games to underage consumers has drawn backing from the Parents Television Council (PTC).
S.2156 (PDF) proposes to label it a misdemeanor to sell “M” rated games to anyone less than seventeen years or “AO” rated games to someone less than eighteen years of age. Fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of “not more” than one year are the bill’s proposed penalties. The bill is sponsored by State Senators Frank Ciccone (D), Paul Jabour (D), Beatrice Lanzi (D) and Michael McCaffrey (D).
In urging the Rhode Island legislature to pass the bill, PTC President Tim Winter stated:
This legislation empowers parents by enforcing the industry’s voluntary guidelines which, far-too-frequently, are not followed. And the measure would accomplish its noble goal without infringing on the ability of an adult to purchase the mature-themed product.
Winter also stated that recent Iowa State University research into violent games should serve as “a wake up call for lawmakers and industry leaders,” as the research “proves that playing adult video games can lead to increased aggression and aggressive thoughts.”
PTC Rhode Island Chapter Director Marcia Weeder added:
Half of the retailers our chapter visited responded with contempt when it was pointed out that they weren’t following the ratings when selling adult games to children. Obviously, penalties are needed to enforce what should be a simple thing for retailers to control. If we can prohibit the sale of tobacco, alcohol, and pornography to minors without restricting the rights of adults, we can do the same with adult games.