Switzerland wants to ban violent video games

Clever members of the Swiss parliament are considering banning violent video games after two motions passed through the Commission for Legal Affairs.

National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener, member of the Christian Democratic Party, filed his motion in December 2007. His motion demands parliament consider a law to ban the sale of games with a 16+/ 18+ PEGI-rating to under-age minors. Retailers and video games companies are currently meant to stick to a Code of Conduct, which tells them they shouldn’t sell and market games for grown-ups to kids.

Hochreutener believes a law needs to be passed to enforce ratings and make sure kids cannot play what are called “killer games” in the German-speaking part of Europe. “Killer games” is the moniker of choice for popular first-person shooters such as Counterstrike, which kids enjoy playing as much as their parents enjoy getting upset about.

Hochreutener’s motion was a reaction to a murder case in Switzerland. A conscript of the Swiss army shot a 16 year old girl standing at a bus stop with his army assault rifle.

Motion no. 2 (which received a 9 to 3 vote) calls for a ban of violent video games altogether. Swiss Social Democreat Evi Allemann thinks banning games will keep troubled teens from packing their school bag with guns and going on a killing spree, such as in Littleton, Erfurt or Winnenden. The motion, which received a 9 to 3 vote from the commission, will now also head to parliament to be decided on.

Blaming video games, Marilyn Manson and Heavy Metal is a popular reaction to criminal behaviour. Tim Kretschmer, the youth who killed 15 people and injured 11 in Winnenden, had access to 15 guns and rifles his father owned. Kretschmer learned to use them during sport shooting lessons. He also had his own PC which meant he played video games. Politicians called for the ban of paintball and violent video games in the wake of the aftermath.