New Law Could Treat Violent Video Games as Porn

Michael Hayes
OKLAHOMA CITY — In a move that could have profound 1st Amendment ramifications, the state Senate has passed a “games as porn” bill, bringing Oklahoma one step closer to lumping violent video games into the same category as pornography.

The bill, which is sponsored by Republican Sen. Glen Coffee, is modeled after a piece of Utah legislation dubbed “games as porn.” The proposed law would amend existing Oklahoma obscenity law by changing the definition of the term “harmful to minors.”

The proposed change would add the phrase “inappropriate violence” to the types of material deemed harmful to minors.

The bill goes on to set forth a community-standards test to determine the appropriateness of the material in question.

HB3004, which the House passed unanimously in March, won a 47-0 victory in the Senate.

While both the House and the Senate have passed the bill, a slight amendment to the legislation means that the House will once again have to pass the bill before it goes to Gov. Brad Henry’s desk.

According to GameDaily BIZ, a site that covers the video game community, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for the industry, will likely file suit to have the law deemed unconstitutional, if Gov. Henry signs the bill.

California, Illinois and Michigan have all passed similar bills in the past year. Each has been struck down by federal courts on 1st Amendment grounds.