Rhode Island Representative Introduces Legislation to Increase Tax on Violent Video Games

"There is evidence that children exposed to violent video games at a young age tend to act more aggressively than those who are not"

State Representative Robert Nardolillo III of Rhode Island is introducing new legislation that will require violent video games with a ESRB rating of "Mature" or higher to be taxed higher than other games. The added tax, as proposed by Nardolillo, will be used to "increase mental health and counseling resources in schools."

This news comes just a couple weeks after a shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school left 17 dead. In the wake of this tragedy, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, who is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, blamed the effects of violent video games for mass shootings, a long-spread opinion in the wake of school shootings. 

Nardolillo, who has a high approval rating from the National Rifle Association and has spoken against further gun control laws, proposes a 10-percent sales tax on Mature-rated games sold in the state. According to Nardolillo, this money will be placed in a "special account for school districts to use to fund counseling, mental health programs and other conflict resolution activities."

"There is evidence that children exposed to violent video games at a young age tend to act more aggressively than those who are not,” Nardolillo said. “This bill would give schools the additional resources needed to help students deal with that aggression in a positive way.”

And while that evidence may be correct, it's been largely dismissed that violent video games are either the cause of mass shootings or even played by perpetrators. According to Researchers Patrick Markey and Chris Ferguson in a recent Glixel opinion piece, "Research done by the US Secret Service and our laboratories have both found that less than 20 percent of school shooters played violent video games with any amount of regularity. Not only is interest in violent video games rare among school shooters, these perpetrators express much less interest in this violent medium than most other individuals." 

This isn't the first game-related piece of legislation Nardolillo's introduced. Earlier this month, the representative introduced legislation in an effort to stop swatting, which recently left one Kansas man dead

"Our goal is to make every school in Rhode Island a safe and calm place for students to learn,” Nadolillo said about his latest legislation. “By offering children resources to manage their aggression today, we can ensure a more peaceful tomorrow.”