Oklahoma’s State Senate unanimously passed a bill that would equate videogames like HALO and Grand Theft Auto 3 with hardcore pornography, making it a crime to sell those games to anyone under the age of eighteen:
HB3004 seeks to amend an existing Oklahoma statute, and redefine what
is considered "harmful to minors." Authored by State Rep. Fred Morgan
(R), the bill would add "inappropriate violence" to the statute. In the
actual wording of the bill, "harmful to minors" means: "the material or
performance lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or
political value for minors."
[. . .]
Virtually everyone can agree that there are games which are clearly
inappropriate for children, but that’s what ratings and parents are
for. Why is it that Republican lawmakers are gung-ho for personal
responsibility and government abstinence when it comes to healthcare,
welfare, and minimum-wage laws, but they can’t vote "aye" fast enough
when it comes to intrusively legislating morality?
If this bill becomes law, it will be a crime to sell a "harmful" game
to a anyone under 18. There are countless reasons that this is
incredibly stupid, among them the fact that a 17 year-old can buy
himself a ticket to a graphically violent film like Saw or Hostel, or a sexually-charged film like Showgirls.
But that same 17 year-old couldn’t legally purchase DOOM 3, and the
person who sold it to him would be criminally liable. How does this
make sense? The answer is, it doesn’t. Bills like this have nothing to
do with protecting the children or seriously addressing issues which
need governmental attention. Bills like this are entirely about
election-year pandering to the ultra-conservative minority who
unfortunately make up the modern Republican Base.