The ESA Strikes, Again
Not to be outdone by pesky elected politicians, the video game special interest group ESA has filed suit against the state of Minnesota. A bill signed into law in that state would fine children under age seventeen $25 for buying or renting video games rated M for Mature or AO for Adult Only. Stores would also have to post signs in large font drawing attention to the restrictions. Attempts were made, but ultimately not included in the bill, to penalize retailers who sell or rent such video games to young people. The ESA opposes such restrictions on retailers as well, claiming First Amendment privilege.
“The bill’s tortured effort to end run the First Amendment by punishing kids directly fails under the Constitution because children have rights under the First Amendment, like all other citizens. The State is attempting to impose liability on children because they know that courts have consistently held that they cannot penalize retailers. We believe that the courts will agree that fining children violates the First Amendment as well,” said Doug Lowenstein, president of the ESA. “If this law is implemented, it will not only limit First Amendment rights for Minnesota’s residents, it will create a huge amount of confusion for retailers, parents, and children.”