Illinois Lawmaker to Introduce Legislation Banning “Grand Theft Auto”, Other Violent Games
Earlier this week, an Illinois lawmaker announced that he will introduce a ban on violent videogames in response to a rise in carjackings in the Chicago area.
State Representative Marcus Evans (Democrat) specifically noted Grand Theft Auto as his primary target, as it features vehicle theft as part of the gameplay. The legislation would ban sales of the game in the state of Illinois.
According to Evans:
“Grand Theft Auto and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking…. Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”
Not only does Evans not provide any causal evidence linking video games to a rise in carjackings, he also fails to address why other areas of the country aren’t seeing a similar rise in such crimes despite games like Grand Theft Auto being popular everywhere. The logical conclusion is that there is some other causal factor(s) that Evans is either unable or unwilling to address, instead choosing to point a finger at a typical scapegoat.
Unfortunately for Evans (and fortunately for gamers), the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that video games are protected by the first amendment, which means that the proposed ban, if passed, probably won’t stand against constitutional scrutiny.
There is a large body of scientific studies that confirms that playing violent video games does not lead to real-world violence. Here’s a quote from a 2020 study by Massey University:
“Current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression.”
At this point, these kind of results are so obvious and predictable to those who follow the issue of video game violence, one could almost cut and paste the rest of the text below from another post....
Not only is there virtually zero scientifically valid evidence linking video games to real-world acts of violence, there are even indications that the reverse is true (See here and here), that playing video games decreases violent tendencies. The explanation perfectly reasonable: video games, particularly violent ones, offer a sense of catharsis for gamers who may be experiencing real-world frustrations. The real world is messy, confusing, and oftentimes unjust. Why wouldn’t a troubled mind find solace in a manufactured world with a consistent set of rules, clearly-defined objectives and predictable outcomes?
Sadly, no matter how widely reported or extensively cited, the results of these studies rarely seems to make much of a difference when it comes to our policymakers. Every few months, some political demagogue with a messiah complex and their dutifully compliant media outlets conveniently ignore the large body of evidence that contradicts them, all in an effort to regulate something that they don’t like – to rewrite culture with the purpose of manufacturing a future crafted in their own moral image.
You can read studies that reach similar conclusions below (there are many more – this search only took approximately 10 minutes). That way, the next time an opportunistic politician, a scam artist with a social sciences degree or Captain Kangaroo tells you that
rap music comic books rock and roll video games cause misogyny racism violence, kindly shove these right up their critical lens. If you are a constituent of Representative Marcus Evans (Illinois District 33), you can contact him and share your opinion (respectfully) here.
- U.S. Secret Service and Department of Education (Joint)
- The University of York
- The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry
- The Journal of Communication
- Frontiers in Psychology
- The Journal of Psychology and Media Culture
- The International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
- The Southern Economic Journal
- The University of Oxford
- Massey University
Source: ABC 7 Chicago