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Missouri Republican Wants Violent Video Game Tax 506

New submitter sHr0oMaN writes with news that Diane Franklin, a Republican member of Missouri's state House of Representatives, has proposed a sales tax on violent video games. The proposal, HB0157I, is one of many responses to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The proceeds from the tax would go toward mental health programs and law enforcement in the hopes that future shootings can be prevented. The total amount taxed would be small — 1% — and would be applied to video games rated Teen, Mature, or Adult-only by the ESRB. Of course, many games earn the "Teen" rating without having violence in them, like Guitar Hero. The Entertainment Software Association responded to Rep. Franklin's bill with a statement: "Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers."
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Missouri Republican Wants Violent Video Game Tax

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  • Misdirection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:27PM (#42598879)

    Looks to me like a Republican, in the face of potential gun bans, is pointing at video games and saying "LOOK OVER HERE! HERE! LOOK OVER HERE INSTEAD."

    Mind you I'm completely against any gun legislation myself.

    • Re:Misdirection (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:49PM (#42599097)

      I'm for punishing criminals and leaving law abiding citizens the right to own whatever weapons they want. However, it would be dishonest of me to act like it was a copy of Star Craft II (the game news reports stated he played) was used to murder the 20+ people in the latest spree killing, rather than -- you know -- firearms. It'd also be dishonest to act like he was being influenced by Star Craft II, instead of medication. Or that he was influenced by Star Craft II, instead of a crazy end-of-times-preparing mother.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AK Marc ( 707885 )

        a crazy end-of-times-preparing mother

        Perhaps it's the "speak no ill of the dead" rule, but I hadn't heard anything bad about the mother, almost nothing about her, other than she was trying to get him committed at the time, and even that seems unreliable, given the other early reports that were simply wrong, but repeated more than the truth itself.

        • It has been mentioned that she was a survivalist type (which is why she had an AR-15). I don't know if that, true, but either way, she didn't survive.
          • 400 quatloos for a picture of the NRA sticker on her truck!
      • or mabey he's to blame for his own actions.

        1. not guns
        2. not video games
        3. not his yuppie suburban scum sucking parents

        mabey we can quiet the lynch mobs that the rest of us, and agree that your neighbor next door, no matter what you think of him was not complicit in this, nor any other mass shooting.
      • As Penny Arcade [] put it so succinctly:

        It is a very odd sort of patriot that would destroy the first amendment to protect the second.

        How bout we leave it there?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      Maybe, but that doesn't excuse the giant misdirection from the left with its assumption that more bans = safer (look at chicago, and we tried this with alcohol too). If anything, more bans increases the pressure of the conflict. People who shoot up schools/malls/whatever are highly motivated. Making guns harder to get will not stop these people. If the goal is to prevent these events, then the leadership should spend more time fixing the core problems of our society, like the dying economy and civil lib

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:00PM (#42599167)

        Outside the USA, gun bans are normal and deaths by weapons are all a tiny fraction of those in the USA. Where guns are allowed (e.g. Switzerland has quite a few) they get a lot more deaths, Swiss being more prone to just killing themselves than gun rampage+suicide.

        Gun's don't kill people, people with guns kill people.

        People with knives, you can run away from, guns though are designed to give the owner a killing advantage. There's simply no need for a killing advantage unless your intention is to kill.

        "like the dying economy and civil liberties instead of passing populist kneejerk unsolutions"

        So you're blaming the kid going into school with his moms GUN on the economy?
        "Kneejerk", hardly kneejerk, this has been raised again and again and needs to be tackled but Republican gun nuts like Diane Franklin would sacrifice thousands of school children for their few thousand dollars NRA lobby money.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Lord Kano ( 13027 )

          The factor that you ignore is that these countries with draconian gun controls had fewer per capita gun murders than the US when their people were armed.


          • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:05PM (#42599599)

            The factor that you ignore is that these countries with draconian gun controls had fewer per capita gun murders than the US when their people were armed.

            Even before the "draconian gun controls", no other country in the world has ever had as many people with guns as the USA now. While other countries have tried to reduce the risks, Americans have only gotten more and more heavily armed and suffer the consequences.

            • by alcmena ( 312085 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @12:05AM (#42599889)
              The US suffers from the prisoner's dilema... Pretend you have a small grouping of 10 isolated people. Zero of those people have guns, which means that you as an individual have a 0% change of being shot... ever. Now, assume that the 10 people don't know that no one else has a gun. They believe that at least one of their neighbors has a gun. Therefore, one decides to do something about it and procure a firearm. That one person has now increased the changes of being shot in that community to a non-zero number. Ignoring the fact that you are more likely to be killed by a gun you know than a gun you don't and we will assume that the person with the gun has a 0% chance of being shot with a gun and everyone else now has a non-zero chance.

              Now, as a non-gun owner, you say, "well, I must too have a gun." After such an event, everyone's risk of being shot with a gun doubles given that there are now two guns in the community. The original owner of a gun went from a 0% chance to a non-zero percent chance as well. The risk to the community has increased greatly, but yet, two members feel more secure, even though their actual risk increased. Continue that throughout and it's easy to understand the gun nut philosophy.

              Those who profess that the problem isn't too many guns but rather too few completely fail at the prisoners dilema. Be sure to avoid doing anything significant with them; they apparently have already proven they will chose their own self interest over the greater good.
          • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:23PM (#42599673)
            The factor you're ignoring is that when a person is assaulted with a gun, they are 7.5 times more likely to die. Banning guns or at least taking steps to keep them out of the hands of people who are likely to use them to assault other people is harm reduction.
            • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @12:56AM (#42600091)

              I found that you are 7.5 time more likely to die from a Broken Heart []

              Also, if teens drink [] they are 7.5 time more like to die.

              If you are a fat ass, you are 7.5 time more likely to have Choledocholithiasis. []

              If you are a loser 45 year old then you are 7.5 times more likely to waste money. []

              Lastly (on the Google search results) if your PSA values are between 2.0 to 2.9 ng/mL you are 7.5 times more likely to die of Prostate cancer.

              But nothing about guns being 7.5 times more deadly than....what? Hammers? [] nope. Baseball bats? [] hmmm..nope. I know! knives! [] drag...sorry, not knives either.

              So I have to conclude you just pulled that out of your ass. Hint: Brady Gun Control propaganda is about the same thing as your ass.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by flayzernax ( 1060680 )

          Seriously your not going to blame a corrupted to the core economy which has a billion links and citations to go with it on people loosing their f'ing minds?

          I can't get inside this dumb ass kids head, but I imagine he was pretty sure he was going to live a life of servitude to a master he didn't want. He probably didn't ever get a real shitkicking, so didn't learn empathy for pain and suffering. He probably suckled at his mothers teat his whole life. He probably was angry and wanted to end it. He probably wa

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by flayzernax ( 1060680 )

            P.S. our medical system is 500% more fucking corrupt then our economic system. Pharmaceuticals, corrupt ass doctors, pushing drugs that destroy peoples sex drives and wreck their lives. Just for control and more money. Ignoring the real socia-political-cultural problems. We stopped dealing with it as a society when we stopped being politically incorrect and rallying, forcibly if necessary.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by epyT-R ( 613989 )

            I agree with some of your post, except for two areas.

            Bully anyone enough, even the most well-adjusted happy teenager, and you'll get a psychopath out the other end, regardless of his upbringing.. The public schools are breeding grounds for this kind of behavior because instead of teaching kids to stand up for themselves, our 'PC' culture teaches ineffectual passive-aggressive 'coping skills' that actually magnify the teasing as they destroy self-esteem. The 'normal' kids who aren't fully indoctrinated with

            • Yeah I was talking about exactly what you illustrated much more perfectly then me. Authority shouldn't be meeting out the shit kicking ever. But knowing what its like to get in a fight or two, see the other guy beaten and feel sorry for what you did. Or feel dumb for picking a fight you should never have, then making friends after is a crucial part of development in my humble if a little spittle flecked opinion =)

              You got it right.

        • Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people.

          no, no, that's quite incorrect.

          "Guns don't kill people; apes with guns kill people."

          at least that's what charleston heston used to say. he would know, right?

          • "charleston heston"


            damn you, spell correct. damn you all to hell!

            s/b charlton heston. afaik, he had nothing to do with that trendy dance, so long ago.

    • Looks to me like a Republican, in the face of potential gun bans, is pointing at video games and saying "LOOK OVER HERE! HERE! LOOK OVER HERE INSTEAD."

      Well, I guess it would be okay if Colleen Lachowicz [] was my representative. Otherwise, I'd refuse. I mean, are there even any republicans out there that have actually played a videogame?

    • Re:Misdirection (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Muros ( 1167213 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:04PM (#42599195)
      Gun control is, unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) the only way to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people. There is much hand-wringing going on about why this guy shot a load of people, why people keep on doing things like this. The simple answer is that he was not right in the head. There will always be people like that around. Doesn't matter how good your mental health program is, welfare subsidised or not (and I'm a socialist, I'm all in favour of paying to keep crazy people slightly less crazy). Crazy people will still do things that no sane person of any religious or political affiliation would find remotely acceptable. I'm not saying you need to ban guns or anything in the US. I don't really care whether some lad who likes to hunt or just shoot at targets has a gun, it isn't something I'm into purely because I live in a country that is completely domesticated. The most dangerous wild animals here are badgers, and there is no big game. Hunters here shoot foxes & pheasants. People in the US have uses for guns that I don't, and I wouldn't take that away from them. That said... there really should be some way you can make sure that someone who is completely batshit crazy can't just pick up a gun and kill people with impunity until the cavalry arrives.

      I don't want to ban guns. I'm male, and I think guns are cool. But seriously, sort yourselves out over there.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The rest of the fucking industrialized world has violent video games and violent movies, and the vast majority of them do not see the gun deaths we do.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      No silly, look over here []. Then maybe over here []. The finally come over here []. Hopefully this brings some clarity for you.
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:28PM (#42598889)

    How are mental health programs and law enforcement going to stop the one messed up kid who doesn't talk to anyone outside of the internet?

    If nobody knows the psycho is out there, no amount of money can prevent them spazzing out.

    • Well shucks kid, if he ain't out there playin' football like a healthy boy his age ought to do, I reckon there be something not right in that there head o' his and he should be seeing one o' dem head-looking-atter fellas or whatcha call em

    • It can't. The real question is, how the fuck yet another mental case shooting up a school automatically the result of video games?

      And once again, the answer is that they don't. People always have to pick something to blame that the majority of people like to do.

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        Exactly. They might as well tax gangsta rap "music".

        Blaming video games is quick and easy, and taxing them is also quick and easy.
        The real problem is that since the Carter administration, this country has been turning nut cases loose in massive numbers. Look at the homeless population of any large city and you will find enough whack jobs to fill an asylum.

        But it goes farther than that. The very definition of insane has been made obsolete in the rush to accept diversity of every possible kind. Therefore t

      • The real question is, how the fuck yet another mental case shooting up a school automatically the result of video games

        It wasn't the video games, man. It was the briefcase. That kid carried a briefcase. We should be, like, taxing them. Briefcases are the problem, man.

        It's briefcases, all the way down . . .

    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:02PM (#42599183)

      Call me crazy but aren't most people educated in public facilities that could theoretically have people in them? Of those theoretical people how many would you say probably have at least one functioning eye and one functioning ear? Now of that subset how many do you figure would have a functioning mouth?

      The real problem isn't the lack of observers but the lack of responders to the observations from the observers. The criminal justice system is the only established means of dealing with mental illness in the United States. If a kid has a problem and the parents can't/won't bankroll it themselves, then there are effectively zero treatment options available until the kid gets a criminal record. The government won't pay for it neither will health insurance won't pay for it. Even if they did, there exists no legal framework outside of criminal law to force someone into treatment when justified.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:29PM (#42598907) Journal

    A Republican wants a tax? Someone is about to receive a pair of "Norquist galoshes".

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:30PM (#42598909)

    And pray tell, honorable senator from Missouri, what will these taxes go to? Because given your party's actions to date, I'm pretty sure it won't be helping to educate anyone. Maybe a discount on some voucher program? Paying for adults to stand in front of teens and explain to them how condoms are only for bananas? Or maybe a rainy day fund for members of your party caught in airport restrooms?

  • by technomom ( 444378 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:37PM (#42598985)
    Right. Because nothing says Republican idea of small government more than taxing video games does. Thanks, dude.
    • The Republican idea of small government is as big as it can be while only being slightly smaller than the Democrats what it to be.

      • Re:Video Game Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

        by trims ( 10010 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:17PM (#42599285) Homepage
        Actually, the Republican ideal of small government is just enough government that will fit in your bedroom.
        • Re:Video Game Tax (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:29PM (#42599365)

          small government really means 'go light on the social services'. that's the code word translation from republican-speak to normal english.

          note that 'social services' includes our sewers, roads, infrastructure; you know, what us commoners rely on.

          • by trims ( 10010 )

            You missed the point of my comment.

            "Small Government" Republicans don't want any restrictions on businesses, and think all "services" (as you point out) should be either individual contribution or charity, but they're big into legislated morality.

            Hence, the concept that all they want to regulate (or have the government care about) is what kind of sex you're having.

            At some point in the (now distant) past, "small government" republicans actually were for responsible spending, and that included basic ser

  • does a politician want exposure without committing any budget?

    (given that's a republican politician): how much for "law enforcement" and what proportion for "mental health"?

    What does violent games have to do with "mental health"? If "depicting violence whenever accessed" is the key for the answer, why not tax all the TV station for every news about violence? Or, indeed, any display of violence... even in sports involving fighting or... wars???

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:39PM (#42599003)

    You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

    -Rahm Emanuel

    So everyone you see these days flogging one plan or another in wake of Sandy Hook really don't give 2 shits about the kids that were killed, just about using the emotional uproar to advance their agenda and get it passed in a flurry of reflexive emotion.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:40PM (#42599017) Journal

    Sample Game Tax List:
    $0.03 per ounce of blood visible
    Spleen visible: $1
    Spleen split/burst: $3
    Brain visible: $2.50
    Brain split/burst: $5
    Heart visible: $2
    Heart split/burst: $4
    Intestine visible: $1.75
    Intestine split/burst: $3.75
    Choking/strangulation using intestine: $8
    Choking/strangulation using victim's own intestine: $12
    Flying eyeball: $2 per ball
    Decapitation: $3 per head
    Robot death: $0.30

  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:44PM (#42599063)

    Make violent video games harder to get and play, and it's just going to increase the amount of violence in the real world.

    There are always a few kids "inspired" by violent games, but for the majority of the people who play these things, it's an outlet for some pent-up aggression that they'd otherwise have trouble releasing.

    A lot of these mass shootings are done by people who want control, but feel that it is slipping away from them. Video games, and violent video games in particular, give them this control, if only temporarily.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

      A lot of these mass shootings are done by white males who want control, but feel that it is slipping away from them.

      Fixed that for you.

      We can't have an honest conversation if we aren't talking about who the shooters are,
      because the solution(s) to this problem are going to be different than the solutions we've used to reduce urban gun violence by minorities.

      • Oh how very insightful of you. Let's bring race into this.

        Let's talk about all the inner city black on black murders while we're talking race, because that's by far the majority of gun violence in the US. And guess what? They're not using rifles or "assault weapons" for any of it. They're using handguns. And it is directly a result of this idiot "war on drugs" where 100% of the casualties of war are American citizens.

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:45PM (#42599073) Homepage Journal

    Ah yes.... there's little Timmy (the Dickens one, not the Slashdot one), saving to buy "Beserkers: The game with real bloodspurt(tm) certified by the NRA for massacre training, endorsed by Ted Nugent" and he's at the GameStart store and he's 14 cents short because of the tax.

    DAMN YOU, Republicans! How dare you deny a child a game because of your endless taxes! It's like how in Florida you've run the cost of a carry permit up to ~$150 so people who live in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods can't afford them.

    Mitt Romney, this is all your fault. Grrrr.

  • Religion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xanlexian ( 122112 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:49PM (#42599095) Homepage

    Religion causes more violence than video games.

    Tax churches.

    • Try government (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:40PM (#42599763) Homepage

      Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. Governments have murdered far more people than religion has. In fact, that's exactly why we have the second amendment. The government has a much harder time killing innocent people when they are armed.

      The governments of the world have murdered far more children than citizens ever have.

    • Re:Religion (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kNIGits ( 65006 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @12:25AM (#42599967) Homepage

      I have no mod points, and you're already at +5, but I just wanted to add my +1, Insightful to your comment.

      Religion has caused, and is causing, more hate and violence than any political ideology that I can think of in recent times. The tax-free status of religions needs to be revoked immediately.

      As a former Christian, I've abandoned the "faith" and I'm currently trying to stop my wife from giving away my hard earned salary to an organisation that cannot prove anything it stands for.

  • by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:49PM (#42599099)

    Missouri Republican Wants Violent Video Game Tax

    And I want idiots like him to shut the fuck up, respect my freedom, and do something useful. Oh well, I guess we can't always get what we want, and I suspect neither of us will in this case.

  • by icannotthinkofaname ( 1480543 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:52PM (#42599115) Journal

    Like TFS states, games can receive T, M, or AO ratings without being violent. If a game is AO for explicit sexual content, that isn't a violent video game (and I would be hard-pressed to find someone other than this Missouri representative who would believe otherwise). The ESRB does give specific qualifiers in the ratings for why a game is rated as it is. The ESRB will tell you, on the box, if a video game received its rating because of violent content.

    If section 144.1020 were re-written so as to appear to be the product of a reasonable human being, I might be in favor of this idea.

  • Obligatory Penny-Arcade [].

    • Or that could be destroy the first amendment in order to destroy the second.

      Or destroy the second amendment in order to destroy the first.

      Depends who you ask, but all are equally viable.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:02PM (#42599185) Homepage Journal

    "Stupidest Proposed Law in Response to a Tragedy" or something? I'm seeing a lot of entries lately.

    • Partly this is because no one in any part of our government wants to do anything useful in solving any real problems, because it would interfere with the flow of graft.

      However, if people see that the government is useless, then they might act to change it. So they do that Wizard of Oz thing where you have the giant fake head making lots of scary noise, while saying "pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain." Tragedies like Newtown are godsends, because they cause a great emotional reaction an

      • Adam Lanza could have been blocked from guns, in which case he'd likely have used gasoline or an automobile. (I know of a few cases of mentally ill people committing arson. Trust me, the kids murdered by arson are just as dead as those killed by guns.)

        And, if so, the arson would have probably occurred at night (most are, as to avoid detection by the authorities) and, as such, would have had fewer innocent victims. Same with the car scenario, which would probably have been damaged too badly to be driven (by

  • by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:07PM (#42599213)
    You can have your tax on violent video games. But, only if I can get a tax on Missouri Republicans.
  • Ugh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JasoninKS ( 1783390 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:26PM (#42599339)
    Alrighty Ms. Franklin, and just who gets to decide what is a "violent" video game? You and your church ladies?
    I'm sure it'll have a broad enough definition that nearly every game could count. Space Invaders? You shot a weapon at enemies. Pac-Man? Ran around eating dots until eating "special" dots that make you strong enough to go take out your enemies. Super Mario Brothers? Stomped on enemies or sometimes shot them with fire once obtaining a special weapon.

    Yet another bill proposed by someone that hasn't got a clue about the real world around them.
  • It will never fly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:36PM (#42599399)
    No one is going to accept paying more for a "violent" video game. Even if such a tax did some how make it through to the customer, game developers will just find a way to make the "violent" game rate not-violent. On the other hand if a "violent" video game does get taxed more the end result realistically will be nothing. A person who is going to kill doesn't care about $2 more for a video game, of course like I've said before, Video games don't make anyone kill or become violent so really this is an attempt to make money. The most violent people who have ever lived never even touched a video game, so to all those "violent video games cause violence", please explain.
  • by Morpeth ( 577066 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:11PM (#42599625)

    You could use the funds for the very purpose described.

    But of course not, because then that might acknowledge that guns are part of the problem with gun violence (shocker!). The fact she was endorsed by the NRA in 2012 has nothing to do with it either obviously...

  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:16PM (#42599645)

    When Tipper Gore and her PMRC tried to couple violent society with violent games and movies... "NANNY STATE! NANNY STATE! PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY!" was the deafening call from the GOP pundits. And now.. wtf?

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:35PM (#42599733)
    Seriously folks.
  • by CosmicMuse ( 2751635 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:33AM (#42600265)

    The Entertainment Software Association responded to Rep. Franklin's bill with a statement: "Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers."

    Not only would this cost Missouri taxpayers extra if implemented (assuming they didn't simply purchase out of state through Amazon), but it'd also cost them a significant amount to defend in court. The government passing laws that disproportionately impact specific speech content is a pretty clear no-no under the First Amendment. If it were ever to pass, it'd be ripped apart by the courts in seconds.

  • The end result (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:24AM (#42601021)
    One percent won't affect sales as they assumed so the government gets a 1% windfall. What do they spend it on? More contracts with mega-rich corporations to line the pockets of the filthy rich. Now how many lives does this save, exactly????

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson