Governor Says Games Put Kids At ‘Risk Of Being Desensitized’ To Violence

BERGENFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Chris Christie is proposing new restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors.

Speaking at a town hall event Tuesday in Bergenfield, Christie said he has proposed new legislation that would require parental consent for children under the age of 18 to buy or rent video games that are rated either “mature” or “adult-only.”

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“These video games are so graphic and violent that you cannot tell me that children who sit there on HD TVs in their basements playing these things for hours and hours don’t run the risk of being desensitized to the real effects of violence,” he said.

It’s all part of an overall proposal outlined by Christie last week to strengthen existing gun control laws in New Jersey and target the root causes of mass violence in response to the Dec. 14 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza reportedly spent days in his basement playing violent video games.

“Remember that all the stories out of Newtown tell us that young man, who was obviously disturbed, spent hours and hours and hours playing these types of games,” Christie said. “You can’t tell me as a parent that didn’t desensitize that young man who was disturbed to begin with.”

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that video games were protected as freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

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Christie said he doesn’t want to ban the sale of violent games but said “parents should know what these games are really all about.”

“If they [kids] have to bring you to the store to buy it or rent it, then you know maybe this is something we really need to be looking for,” Christie said.

The governor’s plan also proposed strengthening the state’s background checks and mandating gun buyers to show government-issued IDs when purchasing a firearm. In addition, he called for a ban on the sale of Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles.

It also includes recommendations with helping those with mental illness. Christie’s plan does not propose limits on magazine capacity or address classroom security.

To see Christie’s full proposal, click here.

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