In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced legislation on videogames and other entertainment, suggesting that they may have played a role in the shooting. He mentioned recent court cases in which “some people…believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons.” Senator Rockefeller was apparently referring to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who asked about banning Grimm’s Fairy Tales during oral arguments on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA (see “Oral Arguments on Video Games”). The Court eventually struck down a California law regulating videogames, citing scientific studies that show no connection between video games and violent behavior (the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus brief in the case, see “CBLDF Joins Video Game Case”).
Rockefeller’s bill actually goes beyond videogames to include “violent video programming” and asks the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study to determine “whether violent video games/programming cause kids to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their wellbeing, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media.”
Rockefeller is also pressing regulatory agencies to get involved. “I will be calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to expand their work in this area,” he said.