Report Title:

Prohibition of sale of violent video games to minors

Description:

Prohibits the sale of violent video games to minors.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2705

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2004

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to minors.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the video game industry has grown nationwide into a $10,000,000,000 market for game software publishing, wholesaling, and retailing. The use and observation of video games that contain violent content can be harmful to minors, and reasonable restrictions will significantly decrease the number of minors using these games. On July 26, 2000, six of the nation's most respected public health groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, behaviors, and values, particularly in children.

The ratings and content descriptions of video and computer games issued by the entertainment industry reflect the notion that certain video and computer games are suitable only for adults because of graphic depictions of violence or sex. In December 2001, a study by the Federal Trade Commission reported that retailers allowed seventy-eight per cent of unaccompanied minors aged thirteen to sixteen to purchase games rated as "mature" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Hawaii is not immune from such problems. The legislature finds that the State has a significant and compelling interest in ensuring that the youth of Hawaii are protected as much as possible from the deleterious influences of graphic violence in video and computer games. Preventing minors under the age of eighteen from purchasing such games would aid in their healthy development as productive, contributing members of society. The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the sale of violent video games to minors.

SECTION 2. Chapter 712, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Part VI. OFFENSES RELATED TO GRAPHIC VIOLENCE

712- Graphic violence; minors. (a) It shall be unlawful to sell or furnish any video game that contains graphic violence to a minor under eighteen years of age.

(b) Signs bearing the statement, "The sale of video games that contain graphic violence to persons under eighteen is prohibited", shall be posted in letters at least one-half inch high at or near the point of sale of any location where video games are sold.

(c) It shall be unlawful for a minor under eighteen years of age to purchase any video game, as described under subsection (a). This provision does not apply if a person under the age of eighteen, with parental authorization, is participating in a controlled purchase as part of a law enforcement activity or a study authorized by the department of health under the supervision of law enforcement to determine the level of incidence of video-game sales to minors.

(d) Any person who violates subsection (a) or (b), or both, shall be fined $1,000 for the first offense. Any subsequent offenses shall subject the person to a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $4,000. Any minor under eighteen years of age who violates subsection (c) shall be fined $20 for the first offense. Any subsequent offense shall subject the violator to a fine of $100, no part of which shall be suspended, or the person shall be required to perform not less than forty-eight hours nor more than seventy-two hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school.

712- Definitions. For the purposes of this part:

"Graphic violence" means the visual depiction of serious injury to human beings, actual or virtual, including aggravated assault, decapitation, dismemberment, or death.

"Video game" shall include computer and other electronic games."

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2005.

INTRODUCED BY:

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