Yesterday a trio of Democratic senators with presidential ambitions introduced federal legislation that they believe can pass constitutional muster.

The legislation, unveiled at a press conference by Democratic senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Evan Bayh of Indiana, would essentially codify the industry’s current voluntary rating system. It assigns games letters from “EC,” meaning appropriate for early childhood, to “AO” for “adults only.” Retailers who sell games rated “mature,” “adults only” or “ratings pending” to children under 17 could face fines of $5,000 per violation.

My TCS Daily column will explore this at more length, but did I mention it’s dumb?

UPDATE: More criticism from Seven Deadly Sins and Entropy Manor, where we get this observation: “While I don’t like the increasing level of mature content in today’s video games, I don’t think making it a federal crime to sell them to children is the answer. While I deplore the increasing levels of violence and sex in our culture, I deplore government intrusion into a role which is properly that of the parents.”