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Ban ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game to combat carjackings, Illinois lawmaker says

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An Illinois lawmaker wants to ban the sale of violent video games, including “Grand Theft Auto.”

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An Illinois lawmaker wants to ban the sale of violent video games, including the popular “Grand Theft Auto” series.

The bill filed by Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. is in response to a recent increase in carjackings in Chicago, which he attributes to “Grand Theft Auto,” according to media reports.

He does not name “GTA” in the bill, but he singled it out during a press conference Monday.

An Illinois law makes it illegal for retailers to sell violent video games to minors. Evans Jr. wants to amend the law to “prohibit the sale of all violent video games,” he wrote in the bill Friday.

He also wants the law’s definition of “violent video game” changed to reflect that they allow a user “to control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal,” he wrote in the bill.

Evans said the Chicago area is “suffering” from activities promoted in video games, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago police responded to 218 reports of carjackings last month in January, the Sun-Times reported.

“‘Grand Theft Auto’ and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Evans said, according to WLS. “Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”

The most recent installment of the video game franchise, “Grand Theft Auto V,” was released in 2013. With frequent expansions added to it, it is now the second-best selling video game of all time, The Ringer reported.

The franchise was first released in 1997. The newest game has a Mature rating, meaning only people 17 years old and up can purchase it due to “blood and gore, intense violence, mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs and alcohol.”

“I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum,” said community activist Early Walker, who worked with Evans, according to the Sun-Times. “When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings.”

Criminal activities a user can do in the game include stealing cars, executing heists and assassinating targets, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

The Entertainment Software Association has often said there is no connection between video games and violence.

“More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide,” the group said in a statement in 2019 to the Associated Press. “Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”

Numerous studies have backed up its assertion, the AP reported, but politicians have routinely put blame on video games for violent acts that have occurred in the country.

Former President Donald Trump said in 2019 video games contribute to the “glorification of violence in our society,” echoing unverified claims that have been stated since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

Mike Stunson covers real-time news for McClatchy. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has previously worked at the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports reporter and the Lexington Herald-Leader as a breaking news reporter.
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