Video Game Ban Runs Afoul of First Amendment

When Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed "The Safe Games Illinois Act" in 2004, he hailed the bill as "common-sense legislation" to protect children from video games with violent content.

"There's a reason why we don't let kids smoke or drink alcohol or drive a car until they reach a certain age and level of maturity," Blagojevich said. "That's just common sense. And that same common sense should be applied to excessively violent and sexually explicit video games."

Old Standards

At any rate, the fact that new and heretofore unregulated technology is involved does not change one fundamental fact: a state must meet a high standard to ban forms of entertainment, even for children. The 7th Circuit ruling reiterates its previous ruling in American Amusement Machine Association v. Kendrick, that a state can only regulate "indecent" material for minors if it demonstrates that its legislation is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.

staff Writer

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