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This State Rep Wants To Ban GTA

The days of carefree joyrides in Grand Theft Auto may soon be a thing of the past for Illinois residents. The Grand Theft Auto series has seen plenty scandal in the past, but a newly proposed bill could end up seeing the franchise banned from sale in the state of Illinois. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, a rise in carjackings in Chicago and surrounding areas has drawn some unseemly comparisons with the popular video game series.


Illinois already has laws in place to prevent minors from purchasing certain games. However, state representative Marcus Evans seeks to amend the law in order to prevent any games depicting "motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present" from being sold in the state. Of course, as the name of the series would imply, carjackings are a pretty significant gameplay element in Grand Theft Auto.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Rep. Evans' crusade began after he was approached by Early Walker, a philanthropist and Chicago business owner who picked up on the resemblance between the carjackings in the GTA games and the crimes he'd seen committed in the region. Walker is the founder of Operation Safe Pump, an initiative that places guards at gas stations and shopping centers to prevent muggings and carjackings, as well as "I'm Telling, Don't Shoot," a tip line designed to protect communities from gun violence.


If Walker and Evans have their way, the language of Illinois' existing bill will be amended to include a broader range of violent and aggressive video games. The proposed changes would define violent video games as any title where players "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." And look, the GTA games have made players do some pretty terrible things, so this new bill could easily be applied to much more than the series' carjacking mechanics. 

Of course, this is not the first time that violence (and other explicit content) has nearly led to the ban of controversial games. However, in 2020, the American Psychological Association announced, "There is insufficient scientific evidence to support a causal link between violent video games and violent behavior." Despite these findings, lawmakers continue to draw parallels between virtual and real-life violence.

Over the years, GTA has been the subject of a few different proposed laws. One of the GTA series' most expensive mistakes was leaving a raunchy mini-game buried in the code of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The discovery of this sequence — called the "Hot Coffee mod" by fans — ultimately cost Rockstar Games $20 million dollars and nearly led to federal legislation related to video game ratings.


Rockstar has yet to respond to this proposed bill.