Know Your Rights: If A Cop Asks You To Stop Gaming, You Don’t Have To

Illustration for article titled Know Your Rights: If A Cop Asks You To Stop Gaming, You Don’t Have To

We at OGN believe it’s impossible to overstate the importance of knowing your rights as a gamer. Especially in this day and age as more fanboys and girls than ever are seeing their civil liberties infringed upon for peaceful acts like trying to level up their Charmeleon or grab a few extra Power Moons. That’s why we would like to take a moment to remind of one important thing:

If a cop asks you to stop gaming, please remember: You don’t have to.

That’s right. Regardless of how much a police officer might try to pressure you, it is your constitutional right to continue gaming. Whether you’re in the middle of a boss battle in Wolfenstein II or just sprucing up your island in Animal Crossing, as long as you don’t have any warrants out for your arrest and are not trespassing on private property, you are under no obligation to hit pause or put down your controller.

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Generations of brave Americans didn’t fight to uphold the Bill of Rights just so some bully in uniform could unceremoniously force you to abandon an important Ghost Of Tsushima quest without saving. This country was founded on the principles of free and open gaming, and we’ll be damned to let those precious, God-given rights be taken away. As Thomas Jefferson once famously said, “Our liberty depends on our freedom to game.”

Always remember that, gamers. Always.

Now, should you find yourself in a situation where a law enforcement agent is asking you to stop gaming, don’t panic. Just stay calm. While keeping your eyes on the screen and your hands on your controller, politely yet firmly say something to this effect: “I do not consent to your request to stop playing video games. I am an American citizen, and it is my right to continue gaming in accordance with my protections under the Fourth Amendment.”

They might say things such as, “Sir, you’re blocking traffic,” or, “Sir, that law doesn’t exist,” or, “Sir, we’re investigating a murder,” in order to pressure you to stop. But never forget that you don’t have to comply with these unlawful requests. As long as you inform them of your gamer rights in a peaceful manner, you are not breaking any laws, state or federal.

In all likelihood, they will honor your wishes and carry along with their business, although it is possible they might not. Should they force you to stop gaming against your will, make sure to record your entire interaction with them and take down their badge number. And if you are able, make sure to jot down any XP or mission progress you may have lost as a result of the interaction, as you may be entitled to restitution later. You can also legally fight the police officer, should it come to that.

Of course, we’d like to say you won’t ever have to deal with this, but this is unfortunately not the case. There are cops out there who think we live in a banana republic, cops who think they can trample on anyone’s right to play Persona 5 to 100% completion in peace. But with an informed citizenry, we can fight these gross abuses of power. And in order to do that, it’s always best to be prepared.

Remember, gamers, the arc of history is long, but it bends towards gaming.

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