Missouri Representative Wants to Tax Violent Games Like, Uh, Guitar Hero

Paul Lilly

A proposed law in Missouri would tax games rated T for Teen and up.

Do you own a pair of soft mittens? Put them on if you do, otherwise go grab an oven mitt before reading further. We'll wait. All set? The reason we had you do that is because we don't want you to hurt yourself with the inevitable facepalm that's about to follow. You see, Missouri State Representative Diane Franklin (R) has proposed a sales tax on violent video games that would apply to any title rated T for Teen and up by the ESRB, our sister site PCGamer.com reports .

First of all, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) is a self-regulatory organization and its ratings system, while widely used, is voluntary. But forget about that for a moment. What's really idiotic about this is that games like Guitar Hero, Forza Horizon, and Skate 3 are all deemed violent enough to levy a tax. The same goes for Dance Central and Ghostbusters, two more T-rated titles.

See why we asked you to put on a pair of mittens? House Bill No. 157 (PDF) only calls for a 1 percent tax on so-called violent video games, but it's still a silly exercise in politics. You'd have to think that even Beaumont, Texas would be against this, and they banned dancing .

Here's another thing. The United States Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. That case struck down a California law enacted in 2005 that banned sales of violent games to anyone under age 18 and required a warning sticker beyond the ESRB rating system.

Even with the nation now on high alert to issues of violence, it's tough to see such a boneheaded bill being passed.

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