Capitol Alert

California bill would limit sex offenders playing ‘Pokémon Go’

The Pokemon pub crawl hosted by Bar West and other Midtown bars and clubs on July 22 in Sacramento.
The Pokemon pub crawl hosted by Bar West and other Midtown bars and clubs on July 22 in Sacramento.

Gotta catch ‘em all!

Sex offenders, that is.

With the surging popularity of Pokémon Go, which allows users to “catch” digital critters superimposed on the real world with the help of GPS, it seemed like only a matter of time until policymakers sought new laws to counteract safety issues the game creates. There have already been reports of players being robbed or falling off cliffs as their attention wavered.

Now one of the California Legislature's most avid players wants to ensure sex offenders don't use the game to lure victims. Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, will amend her Assembly Bill 2682 so it would ban registered sex offenders from using the app with the intent of preying on kids, like by trying to lure minors to a specific location “for the purposes of meeting.” They’d need to respect buffers preventing them from getting within a certain distance of kids.

Followers of Chang's social media know she's an aspiring Pokémaster. She regularly posts updates about snaring the creatures on while she's flying back to Sacramento or sitting on the Assembly floor. But she said games that rely on geolocation pose a threat to kids.

“I am Pokémon GO’s biggest fan – that’s no secret,” Chang said in a statement. “But as someone who uses the game, you can see how easy it is for criminals and predators to attract people to certain locations – and many of those players are minors.”

Pokémon trainers are participating in the first 'Pokémon Go' pub crawl in Sacramento. The event was organized by Sac Social Club to bring people out and support local businesses.

Two “Pokémon Go” players were robbed at gunpoint in an Elk Grove park as they sat in a vehicle playing the virtual reality game on their cellphones. Sometimes inattention while playing the game can have unfortunate results: A man in Baltimore drov

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert