A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that a California law restricting the sales and rental of violent video games to minors and imposing labeling requirements violates free speech guarantees.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the labeling requirement unfairly forces video games to carry the state's controversial opinion about which games are violent.

The 2005 law, which requires games described as violent to carry an 18 label, has been contested by video game publishers, distributors and sellers.

A lower court had barred the law from taking effect and later invalidated it. The state appealed.

State Sen. Leland Yee wrote the legislation and will urge California Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal the court's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, said aide Adam Keigwin.

There is compelling evidence that children are at risk from these extremely violent video games, Keigwin told Reuters on Friday.

(Reporting by Gina Keating, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)