In recent years, a number of states have passed laws regarding violent games, most of them looking to fine retailers who sell violent games to children. Now Minnesota has a law that fines children for buying violent games from retailers.
Minnesota's Republican governor Tim Pawlenty has signed into law SF 785, which imposes a $25 fine on minors who purchase games rated M for Mature or AO for Adults Only. While it doesn't punish retailers for selling such games to children, it does require them to post a sign notifying minors that they could be fined.
[UPDATE]: The bill is scheduled to go into effect August 1, but it could be pushed back or struck down entirely. The Entertainment Software Association today has announced its intent to file suit against the state. A statement from ESA president Doug Lowenstein expressed deep disappointment in the actions of the Minnesota governor and legislature.
"We believe that SF 785 is unnecessary and will restrict the First Amendment rights of Minnesota's citizens," Lowenstein said in a statement. "To enact 'feel good' bills knowing they're likely to be tossed by the courts is the very height of cynicism."
In this case, one person's cynicism can be another's idealism. Last week, GameSpot interviewed the law's co-author, Minnesota state Senator and member of the Democratic Farmer Labor party Sandra Pappas. When asked why she believes this measure is constitutional when so many others have not been, Pappas said, "Legislators don't worry too much about what's constitutional. We just try to do what's right, and we let the courts figure that out."