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Missouri Lawmaker Proposed Game Tax On Violent Video Games

By: Michael Lackey

January 20, 2013 - 11:34 CST


A Lawmaker in Missouri has proposed a taxation on violent video games, but is it constitutional?

With the recent increase in shooting in the United States, lawmakers in Missouri are proposing a tax on “Violent Video Games”.  Similar attempts have been made in many different states and due to the lack of a proven link between video game violence and the behaviors persons exhibited from playing them, it was deemed that the tax would likely be unconstitutional.

Diane Franklin of rural Camdenton, a Republican State Representative, had introduced House Bill 157.  This bill would add a one percent tax on the sales of games rated T or above by the ESRB.  Games such as Guitar Hero for “Suggestive Lyrics” would also be included in this tax.

It was proposed that money raised by this tax would go towards the treatment of mental health conditions of people who have been exposed to violent video games.  This is, of course, stated by the language of the bill.

It is currently being speculated that even if this bill was to pass and be signed into law, lawmakers are in question of whether or not this selective taxation would be legal altogether.  In 2011, the Supreme Court had established that video games were completely protected under the First Amendment; it was suggested in a case law that the government can’t single out specific types of speech for taxation.

Michael Lackey

Michael Lackey is a games reporter for NextGenUpdate.

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