Lawmakers discuss violent video game study

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Should young people, under the age of 18, be forbidden by law to use 'point and shoot' video games in public places?

State lawmakers are being urged to forbid arcades and other businesses from allowing those under 18 to play those games.

It's been tried before and was vetoed by Governor John Rowland on constitutional grounds.

Ever since it was revealed that the Sandy Hook school shooter spent time playing what many describe as violent, point and shoot video games, they have again come under scrutiny at the Capitol.  
Brooke Cheney of Harwinton is the mother of two young children.

"I, personally, can't stand the violent video games and if I never saw one again I would be thrilled," Cheney said.

One local lawmaker has proposed a law that would restrict who can use the games in public places and she's getting support.

"Not allow children, up to the age of 18, to play 'point and shoot' video games in arcades, in movie theaters," said Sen. Toni Harp.

"Do these point and shoot video games, are they actually practice for some of these kids that go on to become school shooters? And is it appropriate that we have young children that are age 12 and 13," questioned Rep. Diana Urban.

However, many studies have concluded that video games do not cause violence, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut says this proposal has a major obstacle.

"The United States Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that video games have the same first amendment protections as books and plays and movies," said attorney David McGuire, ACLU, "so this would clearly be an unconstitutional scheme."

And even though she hates the games, Cheney says she agrees.

"As a parent of a five and six-year-old, I believe it is my responsibility to chose what my children do or don't do," said Cheney, "as a small business owner; I do not feel that it's fair to put one more piece of legislation on the backs of small business owners in Connecticut."

The proposal would also establish a special study to look at the effects of video games on the behavior of young people, but the ACLU cites many studies that have already been done that say there is no link to violence.

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