Missouri State Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) put forth a bill on Monday proposing that the state charge a 1 percent tax on "violent video games," with the funds to be used for mental health programs and law enforcement efforts related to the prevention of mass shootings. This tax would apply to games rated Teen, Mature, and Adults Only by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
"History shows there is a mental health component to these shootings," Franklin said. She does not say how video games are tied into this equation, nor why they would be the target of such a tax.
The Entertainment Software Association – who also happens to operate the ESRB, issued a brief statement about Franklin's bill:
"Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers," the trade group said.
The bill is interesting for a state like Missouri where State Democrats and Republicans are particularly vehement against raising taxes on anything – even "sin taxes" on items like tobacco. In fact the state has the lowest tobacco taxes in the country because lawmakers continually refuse to raise taxes on them.