Here we go again - not learning from the countless past failures and ignoring the plentiful accredited research disproving the alleged links between video games that depict violence and real-world violence perpetrated by criminals, yet another politician is trying to impose a ban. If successful, the Call of Duty franchise would be affected.
Though primarily focused on other violent games, specifically the Grand Theft Auto franchise, a new bill filed in Illinois last friday could affect the availability of Call of Duty titles in the state. HB3531 was filed by Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. with the goal of amending a 2012 law regarding violent video game sales, as well as what the legal definition of "violent video game" actually covers.
This move comes in the wake of a sharp increase in crime, especially carjacking, in Chicago and the surrounding area recently - CPD reports that officers responded to 218 instances in the month of January. The ridiculous notion that video games are to blame arose after Evans was contacted by Early Walker, who started Operation Safe Pump not long ago.
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Operation Safe Pump sought to secure gas stations in Chicago, since these locations were a chokepoint for carjackings - inattentive drivers would leave their vehicles ripe for the stealing while filling their tanks. Operation Safe Pump stationed additional security outside where the pumps themselves were as a deterrent.
Walker had contacted various lawmakers in Illinois to push for a violent video game ban, or at least new laws to limit their sales to minors. Walker specifically implicates GTA for the sharp rise in carjackings, but the resultant bill of his and Evans' partnership targets a much broader range of products.
HB3531 would alter the legal definition of violent video games to include those which have players “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” and depicting “psychological harm,” including “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present.”
Call of Duty definitely falls into the first category, though we're sure that throughout the various car chase scenes seen in the campaigns of the various titles there would be instances of the second point as well. Despite a long history of all attempts to ban violent games ending in failure, the state representative is adamant.
Not only does the wrong assumption that games have an effect on crime rates contribute to these acts of violence spreading, since this way the real causes are ignored, but such a bill passing would provide a troubling legal precedent for more bans to be enacted in other states. That said, considering how many times this has been attempted, we don't think there's much risk of HB3531 being passed.