(USA TODAY) -- A House bill introduced earlier this week seeks to apply stifferpenalties to retailers who sell or rent adult-rated video games tominors.
The Video Games Ratings Enforcement Actsubmitted by House Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) would require ratingslabels on all video games and ban the sale of video games rated Matureor Adults Only to minors.
Any violators would face a $5,000 fine.
Accordingto the ESRB, the video game ratings system is voluntarily, but nearlyall video games sold in stores carry an ESRB rating. "Many U.S.retailers, including most major chains, have policies to only stock orsell games that carry an ESRB rating, and console manufacturers requiregames that are published on their systems in the U.S. and Canada to berated by ESRB," reads a FAQ on the ESRB website.
And the video game industry seems most aggressive in enforcing its ratings. According to a 2011 survey by the Federal Trade Commission, the video game business was best at enforcing ratings on entertainment purchases.
TheFTC survey found only 13% of minors were allowed to buy a game rated Mfor Mature or higher at a retailer. By comparison, 38% of minors wereable to purchase a R-rated DVD, 33% could buy a ticket to a R-ratedmovie and 64% bought a CD with a "Parental Advisory Label."
Theratings bill is one of several pieces of legislation considered as thedebate over violent video games following the shooting in Newtown, Conn.presses forward. A state bill introduced in Missouriurges a sales tax on all video games rated Teen or higher by theEntertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), while other federallawmakers such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) are pushinglegislation to explore the affects of violent video games.
On Wednesday, President Obama urged Congressto fund research exploring the impact violent video games have onchildren. "We don't benefit from ignorance," said Obama in a speechunveiling a broader gun control plan. We don't benefit from not knowingthe science of this epidemic of violence."