The District Court of Minnesota has ruled that the “Minnesota Video Games Act,” recently signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty, is unconstitutional. The law set a fine of $25 to individuals under the age of 17 who purchased games rated M (Mature) or AO (Adults Only).
“As these games enjoy First Amendment protection, any such restriction is presumptively invalid and subject to strict scrutiny,” wrote Chief District Judge Rosenbaum in his verdict.
Rosenbaum went on to say that there is no showing that violent video games, in the absence of other violent media, “cause even the slightest injury to children” and questioned Minnesota legislators’ motives in passing the law to begin with. This is the seventh time that a state law restricting the sales of violent video games has been overturned in court on constitutional grounds.
“This ruling is of particular interest because lawmakers tried to skirt the First Amendment issue by fining minors themselves for buying the games, not retailers, as they have tried in other states,” stated Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade group representing computer and video game publishers.