Bill Would Hold Game Makers Accountable For Players' Actions

Bill Would Hold Game Makers Accountable For Players' Actions
SEATTLE - Should the people who make and sell "violent video" games be held accountable if someone commits a crime because of playing them?

That's something our state lawmakers are considering, to open game makers up to more liability.

House Bill 2178 proposes to hold the makers and sellers of violent video games liable if someone under 17 years old commits a crime, due in any part, to playing the game.

Supporters of the bill, like Bill Hanson with the Washington Police and Sheriff's Association, say "kids" are getting the games, and they're becoming desensitized.

"If you sit up and watch this and play these games over and over again... it seems that this is alright to walk up and hit a police officer over the head with a bat," Hanson said.

Opponents argue that the proposed bill would shift the responsibility from the person who actually committed the crime.

Lew McMurran, with the Washington Software Association, says violent games are clearly rated for adults only, and that the responsibility should be on parents to use the video game rating system and control what their kids are playing.

"We're removing the responsibility from the person who committed the act, to somebody else who's completely removed from the situation" McMurran said. "There's a very strong video game industry in this state that we want to support. We don't want to bring undo attention to an area where there's actually jobs being created, where there's actually some good economic development in our state"

House Bill 2178 is still in the committee stage in the state House of Representatives.