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Conn. lawmaker proposes bill preventing minors from playing light gun games publicly

Connecticut state senator Toni Nathaniel Harp recently proposed a bill "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," according to the text of the committee bill 328 published online.

The bill would prevent minors from playing any games in which an "essential component" involves using a "facsimile of a firearm," a light gun which players hold like a real gun and shoot at the screen. Committee bill 328 puts the onus on each "owner or operator of any public establishment or amusement arcade" to prevent minors from playing.

Concurrent with the prohibition, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families would establish a Violent Video Game Task Force. The task force's goal would be to "study the effects of violent video games on youth behavior," make recommendations to the general assembly and governor based on those findings, continue to gather information on violent video games and coordinate with lawmakers on "state programs that may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior."

If passed, the bill would take effect on Oct. 1, 2013. The task force, which would be comprised of various members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the state government, would be required to submit its first findings no later than Oct. 1, 2014.

The bill was submitted to the Joint Committee on General Law on Jan. 23 and referred to the Joint Committee on Children on Jan. 20.

Earlier in January, Connecticut representative Debralee Hovey proposed a bill that would tax "mature" video games and develop "informational materials to educate families on the warning signs of video game addiction and antisocial behavior." The Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently removed several "violent" games from interstate rest stops, one of which included a light gun.

For more on the many legislative initiatives and studies proposed in the wake of the Dec. 2012 Sandy Hook shootings — including President Obama's directive to have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study the links between video games — "media images" and violence - be sure to read through our StoryStream below.

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