January 29, 2013: State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), at left, is no newcomer to concerns about the effect of violent video games on children. In 2005, as an Assemblyman, he authored two bills that eventually passed into law (CCC 1746-1746.5); the laws required that violent games must be labelled as such; the law also banned sales or rentals of such videos to anyone under the age of 18. [The gaming industry has ratings on their products, and the Federal Trade Commission has found that game ratings are more strictly enforced by parents and sellers than the ratings on both music and movies.]
The gaming industry protested; the U.S. 6th District Court of Appeals (Sacramento) ruled that the law violated the rights of minors under the 1st and 14th sections of the Constitution, and in June, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, striking down the California law.
In the wake of the massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut this past December, the issue has been raised again, and again Yee is central to the debate in California. Speaking on January 25 to the San Francisco Chronicle, Yee said:
"Gamers have got to just quiet down," Yee, D-San Francisco, said in an interview last Tuesday. "[Video game industry people and gamers] have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest."
Yee apologized later that same day, on Twitter:
Gamers, I admittedly didnt use best words to SFchron. Meant video game industry has inherent conflict of interest in the gun violence debate
I have a lot of respect for many gamers - many are on my staff and in my family - but the industry has profited at the expense of children.