R-rated exclusion: Could we see some ID, please?
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Want to go see that latest R-rated film at the cinema this weekend? If you're under 17 and an adult's not with you, you'll soon have to show a photo ID before you can buy your ticket at many theaters in the United States.
Leaders of the National Association of Theater Owners joined President Bill Clinton on Tuesday in announcing that young people trying to get into R-rated movies without an accompanying adult will soon have to show a photo identification proving they're 17 or older.
Saying that while "parents are their children's first and most important influence," this new initiative is being touted as a way to help parents raise families against a backdrop of mounting societal pressures.
"The great thing about the multiplex is there's a movie for every member of the family, but not every movie is for every member. Too often, people do get past the ticket counter, unescorted and underage," Clinton said.
"Today I'm pleased to announce that theater owners are clearly drawing a line."
Carding the kids
The association is to establish a new national policy requiring the photo ID be demanded by its member-theaters. There also are plans for educational outreach to teach parents about the ratings and ID check.
The organization also has pledged support for a national study on the causes of violence. With 700 members, the association represents 65 percent of U.S. movie screens.
This three-point plan of "enforcement, education and cooperation," said association chairman William Kartozian, "will go a long ways to fulfilling the point the president made (of) carrying out our responsibilities to parents."
Echoes of school shootings
The move comes in response to Clinton's May 15 radio address, in which he called for theater owners to improve enforcement of movie ratings. That address followed the high school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, in which two students killed 13 people, then took their own lives.
Under the movie-rating system adopted by the Motion Picture Association of America in 1968, viewers of R-rated movies must be at least 17 years old, or accompanied by a parent or guardian. Still, many young people beat the system because of a lack of vigilance at the ticket booth.
Similar checks have been required for the purchase of tobacco products and alcohol, with mixed success.
Clinton last week ordered a study of the marketing of violent entertainment to children, saying American children are being fed "a dependable daily dose of violence."
Entertainment industry leaders, among Clinton's largest and most loyal campaign donors, have bristled at the president's attacks and are largely cool to his calls for a national campaign to halt youth violence. But Clinton told reporters at the White House earlier on Tuesday that he's confident the industry will cooperate.
"We've got a lot of children in trouble in this country," Clinton said. "They are subject to too much violence through media and cultural contacts and it's too easy for them to get guns. And if we all work at it ... so that nobody's pointing a finger at anybody else, I think we'll have a good participation from the entertainment community."
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