Carjackings are on the rise in Chicago, and as a result one local lawmaker is proposing a bill that could potentially ban the sale of violent video games in the city altogether.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Democratic Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. has introduced a bill that will amend the city's 2012 law that prevents the sale of violent video games to minors, to be expanded into a full ban. HB3531 will take a ban that applies only to people under the age of 18 and expand it wholesale.
According to the summary, HB3531 "Amends the Violent Video Games Law in the Criminal Code of 2012. Changes provisions that restrict the sale or rental of violent video games to minors to prohibit the sale of all violent video games." As part of a growing concern over the increased rate of carjacking in the city, the lawmaker is proposing a ban on games like Grand Theft Auto.
The bill will also modify the current definition of "violent video game" under the Criminal Code to mean video games that "allows a user or player to control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal."
In a statement to IGN, the Electronic Software Association (ESA) disagreed with the proposed bill, saying:
“While our industry understands and shares the concerns about what has been happening in Chicago, there simply is no evidence of a link between interactive entertainment and real-world violence. We believe the solution to this complex problem resides in examining thoroughly the actual factors that drive such behaviors rather than erroneously ascribing blame to videogames based solely upon speculation.”
Video games have long been a target of lawmakers, for reasons beyond violence. Lawmakers in Hawaii proposed banning video games with loot boxes after worries that these mechanics are gambling. And video games are often cited as causes of concern following public displays of violence in the United States.
The bill has yet to be voted on, but Chicago already imposes a $1,000 fine on retailers who are caught selling violent video games to anyone under 18.