Original story (23/02/18): Republican member for the Rhode Island State House, Robert Nardolillo III, has revealed plans to raise tax on violent video games to pay for mental health and counselling resources in schools.
American states don't have the power to legislate against the sale of M-rated games to minors. Nardolillo's proposal aims to offset this by increasing tax and funnelling that money into mental health provisions.
"There is evidence that children exposed to violent video games at a young age tend to act more aggressively than those who are not," he said in a statement.
"The bill would give schools the additional resources needed to help students deal with that aggression in a positive way."
Nardolillo, who has a 93% approval rating from the National Rifle Association, doesn't cite which evidence he is referring to. However, according to research carried out by the US Secret Service - as highlighted by Glixel - less than 20% of school shooters played violent video games.
The legislation would levy an additional 10% sales tax on video games sold in Rhode Island with the rating of M or higher.
"Our goal is to make every school in Rhode Island a safe and calm place for students to learn," Nardolillo added. "By offering children resources to manage their aggression today, we can ensure a more peaceful tomorrow."
GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to both Nardolillo and the Entertainment Software Association for comment.
Update (26/02/18): In response to a query from GamesIndustry.biz, a spokesperson for representative Nardolillo said: "Both the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Paediatrics have released studies showing a connection between violent video games and increased levels of aggression in children."
The 2015 study by the American Psychological Association concluded that violent video games do have an impact on aggression. However, it also noted that there was insufficient evidence to link this exposure to criminal violence or physiological and neurological changes.
Meanwhile, a 2016 study from the American Academy of Paediatrics found "experimental linkages between virtual violence and real-world aggression" but that conceded that a real-world study that links virtual violence with real-world violence has yet to be conduct.
Nardolillo's spokesperson added: "The focus of this legislation is to reduce aggression in children by giving schools additional resources for counseling and mental health programs. By creating a more peaceful environment and ensuring adequate counseling resources are available we may be able to guide young people away from the decisions that lead to these tragedies."
It is not currently known how much the proposed tax is expected to raise, or how much the the mental health provisions might cost.
"When our legal counsel finishes the legislation, we will be able to offer a more accurate projection of the funds generated," said the spokesperson.