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CHICAGO REP INTRODUCES BILL TO BAN ‘GRAND THEFT AUTO,’ OTHER “VIOLENT” VIDEO GAMES

In an attempt to decrease carjackings in Chicago, Democratic state representative Marcus Evans Jr. has introduced a bill, HB3531, that would ban the sale of video games depicting psychological harm, including motor theft with a driver or passenger present, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

The bill is an amendment to an existing 2012 law which prohibits the sale of Mature-rated video games being to minors. In addition to expanding the definition of “violent video games,” the amendment would not just limit sales from minors but cause games such as Grand Theft Auto to be prohibited from being sold at all.

In January, Evans had been contacted by Early Walker, owner of Chicago towing company W&W Towing, who started the Operation Safe Pump initiative to prevent carjackings at gas stations and shopping centers. According to the Sun Times, the Chicago Police Department responded to 218 carjackings in January alone.

“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities we’re suffering from in our communities,” Evans told the Sun Times.

Neither Evans nor Walker provided data outside of their own observations to support a correlation between games such as Grand Theft Auto and the violence done in their communities. There have been studies which suggest that violent video games do not correlate to real-world violence. Federal crime statistics show that serious violent crimes among young people have decreased since 1996, despite the meteoric rise of video game sales over that timeframe, according to the 2010 Review of American Psychology. A more recent study from The Royal Society Publishing indicates minimal, if any, correlation between violence in video games and real-life aggression. However, On March 3 the APA reaffirmed its stance that violent video games encourage violent behavior.

Violent video games have been at the center of debate from lawmakers for decades. In 2019, then-President Donald Trump condemned “gruesome and violent video games” following a number of mass shootings across the U.S. In 2013, his predecessor Barack Obama made similar comments following mass shootings and pushed Congress to fund research into the impact of violent video games.

The bill itself speaks to updating how retailers label and sell violent video games, but does not address how it plans to moderate cloud sales of such games.

Evans and Walker did not immediately respond to VENN’s request for comment.

Photo courtesy of Rockstar Games

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