It’s been at least a few months since someone blamed video games on a completely unrelated problem, but good things come to those who wait.
Pennsylvania lawmakers have suggested something called a “sin tax” be introduced to violent video games, or any game rated M by the ESRB, in fact. This proposal would effectively hike up the price of mature video games, with the extra cash going to fund a new board dedicated to prevent school shootings.
The proposal was originally put forward back in 2018 by Republican state representative Chris Quinn, but never got very far.
It’s now resurfaced with a few minor tweaks, including the 10 percent “sin tax” on top of standard local taxes. Not great news for anyone who already thought games in this day and age were a bit too expensive.
Quinn attributed violent video games as “one factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence.”, despite the vast number of published studies which have found no link between games and real-life violence.
You won’t be shocked to learn that the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) has already opposed the bill, and swiftly condemned it in a statement given to Variety.
The U.S. Supreme Court made clear in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association & Entertainment Software Association that video games are entitled to the full protection of the Constitution, and that efforts, like Pennsylvania’s, to single out video games based on their content will be struck down. We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.
Beyond blaming video games, there’s no other super obvious and proven effective solution to ending school shootings that I can see. Shame, that.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.