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24 Feb, 2021 00:41

Chicago lawmaker calls to BAN Grand Theft Auto in new bill, blaming ‘violent video games’ for spike in carjackings

Chicago lawmaker calls to BAN Grand Theft Auto in new bill, blaming ‘violent video games’ for spike in carjackings

A Democratic lawmaker in Chicago is pushing to ban the sale of all violent video games, claiming the graphic ‘Grand Theft Auto’ series – which debuted more than 20 years ago – is to blame for a wave of carjackings around the city.

State lawmaker Marcus Evans Jr. introduced an amendment on Monday that would “prohibit the sale of all violent video games,” including those that depict “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present inside the vehicle when the theft begins.” He singled out GTA by name during a Monday press conference:

‘Grand Theft Auto’ and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking 

The idea for the amendment came last month after Evans met with Chicago community activist and philanthropist Early Walker, who also argues games like GTA are corrupting young minds and contributing to the carjacking craze, citing his own ‘research.’

“Representative Evans and I have researched and concluded that these very young offenders of carjacking are greatly influenced by the Grand Theft Auto video game,” Walker said. While he did not outline what he and Evans found in their research, or why a series that hit the shelves in 1997 would only be having such an effect now, he added “I truly believe that there is bipartisan support to ban this game from being sold in Illinois.”

The amendment will alter a 2012 law that restricted the sale and rental of violent games to minors – GTA among them – ramping it up to ban all sales of such games, saying they encourage players to “to perpetuate human-on-human violence.”

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Evans and Walker’s crusade against the game is nothing new. Virtually every GTA offering since the series’ creation in the late 1990s has come under fire for their depictions of violence, prompting some countries to ban or restrict in one way or another, including Germany, Australia, Thailand, Brazil and Japan, while some 50 nations prohibited an update to the latest installment in the series due to its in-game gambling.

In the US, the series has also prompted controversy and a number of lawsuits. Until he was disbarred in 2008 for making false statements and other misconduct, Florida lawyer Jack Thompson led a handful of suits against the game’s developers throughout the early 2000s, claiming the game inspired shootings and murders. All of them were dismissed, with judges rejecting Thompson’s arguments in each attempt.

The renewed effort to blacklist the popular game has stoked mockery online, including from George Washington University legal scholar Jonathan Turley, who argued that doing away with GTA “will have about as much impact on carjacking as eliminating Call of Duty will reduce world wars or banning Minecraft will decrease structure-destroying ‘mobs.’”

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