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Lawmaker launches assault on violent video games

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:45PM EST

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An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed levying a new tax on violent video games. Oklahoma Democrat Will Fourkiller has suggested the tax be applied to all games that receive an ESRB rating, which is intended for adults only. In addition, Fourkiller thinks T-Rated games should also have a tax added to the cost of the games, since some include “simulated gambling.” But a tax on all T-Rated games would be too broad, Ars Technica points out, as there are also titles that are rated T for “cartoon violence, crude humor and suggestive themes.” Read on for more.

During his effort to gain backing for the proposed tax, Rep. Fourkiller refers to a crime in which a man killed a police officer and stole his car after playing Grand Theft Auto. “Not everybody is going to react the same, but I believe after hours and hours of watching the screen, playing the video game, being that person and taking on that role, people get desensitized,” Fourkiller said. It is unclear how imposing a 1% tax will impact the effects violent video games may or may not have on those who play them.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has been vocally opposed to Fourkiller’s plans to tax such video games. “We are disappointed that even in the wake of an overwhelming decision in the United States Supreme Court finding proposals such as this to be patently unconstitutional, there are those who still try to attack video game with outdated notions of our industry,” VP of ESA Dan Hewitt explained to Ars Technica. “Taxing First Amendment protected material based on its content is misguided.”