Colorado Mayor Drops Violent Game Tax Plan

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A clinical psychologist and the city attorney’s office have both spoken out against the idea of imposing special taxes on violent games.

Aurora, Colorado came to the attention of the world in July 2012 when a mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises left 12 people dead. In the wake of that massacre and ongoing gun violence in the city, Mayor Steve Hogan brought up the idea of imposing a tax on violent videogames, or even banning their sale completely.

“Our society is experiencing more and more episodes of violent behavior. At the same time we see our kids with less parenting, and more unsupervised leisure time. Some kids turn to videogames which are becoming more graphic and more violent,” Hogan told the Denver Post. “I believe public violence has many sources and am prepared to accept violent games may be one of those sources.”

Clinical psychologist Dr. Stanton E. Samenow rejected that reasoning, however, saying that the key to solving the problem of gun violence does not lie with videogames. “Many people who resort to heinous violent acts are already fascinated and enveloped by violence. … It’s ludicrous to think a game just flips a switch and causes people to go overboard,” he said. “Millions watch violent movies or play violent videogames, and they don’t go shoot or hurt people.”

The mayor’s plan was also hamstrung by the First Amendment, which as the city attorney’s office pointed out has been extended to the medium of videogames, rendering bans or special taxes “likely unconstitutional.” He has thus decided to drop the idea. “I had hoped more regulation of the most violent games might be an answer,” he said. “Obviously, it isn’t.”

While Hogan has backed away from the taxation plan, the idea remains popular elsewhere. Earlier this month, the state of Connecticut became the latest state to look into a state-wide violent videogame tax of its own.

Source: Denver Post

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