GP tries to remain neutral in the political debate over video games. But we do insist that politicians who jump into the fray at least take the time to acquaint themselves with the subject of their legislative efforts.
So we were disturbed by comments attributed to Maryland Republican Delegate Wade Kach, author of legislation currently before the state assembly. Kach's bill, HB707 specifies that "obscene: (i.e. - sexually explicit) video games can't be sold or displayed to minors.
GP: We're not sure which "obscene video games" Kach has in mind. Under the bill's definition, even the Hot Coffee animations would not likely be covered. His comments, which appeared in a well-written piece in the Baltimore Jewish Times, betray a troubling lack of familiarity with the issues:
"Mr. Kach says he was spurred to offer his bill by a complaint from a constituent. 'They were especially concerned about [a video game called] 'Grant Theft Auto,' which apparently has a lot of [physical and sexual] violence,' said Mr. Kach, who has heard that the game has since been reissued in a toned-down version.
Grant Theft Auto? Perhaps the reporter got that part wrong. But "apparently" has a lot of [physical and sexual] violence?" Doesn't he know? Apparently not, since he merely "heard that the game has since been reissued..." Del. Kach, an hour from Washington, D.C. where Congress and the FTC are still digging into Hot Coffee, seems to have only hearsay information on the biggest video game news story of all time.
And while his bill does not address video game violence, Kach adds these comments, which tend to equate games with pornography: "Stores have an obligation to place those [violent] video games under lock and key. If adults want to buy them, they can. But parents cannot be with a child 24/7."
Kach's bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.