High Court: Minors Can Buy Violent Video Games

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that California cannot ban minors from renting or buying violent video games.

The high court decision overturns a California law that made selling of violent video games to minors a crime. Retailers would have been fined up to $1,000 for each violation.

Seven of the nine justices agreed the California law violates minors' First Amendment rights and that the government doesn't have authority to "restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed."

Monday's ruling came despite complaints that violent and often obscene video games allow young people to simulate acts of brutality.

Justice Antonio Scalia said there's no tradition in the U.S. to limit a child's access to violence, pointing to the violence in classic stories like Hansel and Gretel and Snow White as examples.

In the original depictions, Hansel and Gretel kill their captor by baking her in an oven and the evil queen in Snow White is forced to wear red hot slippers and dance until she is dead, Scalia said.

"Certainly the books we give children to read, or read to them when they are younger, contain no shortage of gore," Scalia explained.

More than 46 million American households have at least one video game system. The industry makes least $18 billion in 2010.

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