July 13, 2000
Mr. Matthew Havens
P.O. Box 7
Sheldon, IL 60966
Dear Mr. Havens:
Thank you for sharing your concerns with me about my support for an initiative that seeks to restrict the sale of "M"-rated video games. I appreciate having your comments.
I understand your reservations about restricting video game sales. Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan authorized a statewide "sting" on national retailers in Illinois in April. Attorney General Ryan's Investigations Division found that in 32 of 32 instances, children between the ages of 13 and 15 were able to buy "M" rated games that are not recommended for children under 17. Following his investigation, Attorney General Ryan sent a letter to these national retail chains asking them to vigorously enforce the voluntary video game rating system and stop selling ultraviolent video games to minors. Montgomery Ward and Sears agreeed to stop selling ultraviolent video games in all of their stores nationwide in response to Attorney General Ryan's letter.
As you may know, the killers in several school shootings in the past few years, including those at Columbine High School, were avid violent video game players. After the Columbine High School shooting, President Clinton directed the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Jutice to study the marketing of violent video games and other violent imagery to children. While I realize that violent media products are not solely responsible for these episodes of violence, I believe that the video game rating system ought to be enforced.
Thank you once again for contacting me. Please feel free to stay in touch.
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator