The Connecticut legislation to ban children under 18 from playing "point-and-shoot" video games in public has received contrasting testimonials, following its hearing at General Assembly's Children's Committee on Tuesday.
Connecticut state senator Toni Nathaniel Harp proposed committee bill 328 recently, which was published online last week. It reads: "To prevent minors from using violent point-and-shoot video games in public arcades and to create a task force to study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior."
The American Civil Liberties Union and a body of media trade associations were present at the hearing on Tuesday to oppose the legislation, with one testimonial pointing out that the legislation would be unconstitutional.
"This is a case where there's solid law of the land on this issue," David McGuire, staff attorney at the Connecticut ACLU, Associated Press reports as saying. He went on to say that the bill strips the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children.
Despite several testimonials presenting a case against violent video and its correlation to violent behavior, proponents of the legislation were in force. Sen.Toni Harp, D-New Haven, believes that violent games destigmatize and desensitize children to gun violence and that public safety should be put ahead of children rights to play video games.
"There's no doubt in my mind these games can put real people at risk again in the future," said Harp.
Committee bill 328 was referred to the Joint Committee on Children on Jan. 20. and submitted to the Joint Committee on General Law on Jan. 23.
The bill proposes the establishment of a Violent Video Game Task Force by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, which will consist of executive, legislative and judicial branches of the state government.
The task force's aims would be to "study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior." Its findings will be used to make recommendations to the general assembly and governor, and will coordinate with lawmakers on "state programs that may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior." If passed, the bill will take effect on Oct. 1, 2013 with the task force required to submit its first report by Oct. 1, 2014.