In gun debate, video game industry defends itself

The video game industry, blamed by some for fostering a culture of violence, defended its practices Friday at a White House meeting exploring how to prevent horrific shootings like the recent Connecticut elementary school massacre.
Associated Press
Jan 14, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden, wrapping up three days of wide-ranging talks on gun violence prevention, said the meeting was an effort to understand whether the U.S. was undergoing a "coarsening of our culture."

"I come to this meeting with no judgment. You all know the judgments other people have made," Biden said at the opening of a two-hour discussion. "We're looking for help."

The gaming industry says that violent crime, particularly among the young, has fallen since the early 1990s while video games have increased in popularity.

There are conflicting studies on the impact of video games and other screen violence. Some conclude that video games can desensitize people to real-world violence or temporarily quiet part of the brain that governs impulse control. Other studies have concluded there is no lasting effect.

Cheryl Olson, a participant in Biden's meeting and a researcher of the effect of violent video games, said there was concern among industry representatives that they would be made into a scapegoat in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.

"The vice president made clear that he did not want to do that," Olson said.

Biden is expected to suggest ways to address violence in video games, movies and on television when he sends President Barack Obama a package of recommendations for curbing gun violence Tuesday. The proposals are expected to include calls for universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Obama appointed Biden to lead a gun violence task force after last month's shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children and six educators dead.

Gun-safety activists were coalescing around expanded background checks as a key goal for the vice president's task force. Some advocates said it may be more politically realistic — and even more effective as policy — than reinstating a ban on assault weapons.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, such as at gun shows and by private sellers over the Internet or through classified ads.

"Our top policy priority is closing the massive hole in the background check system," the group said.

While not backing off support for an assault weapons ban, some advocates said there could be broader political support for increasing background checks, in part because that could actually increase business for retailers and licensed gun dealers who have access to the federal background check system.

"The truth is that an assault weapons ban is a very important part of the solution — and it is also much tougher to pass," said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines are also seen by some as an easier lift politically than banning assault weapons.

The National Rifle Association adamantly opposes universal background checks, as well as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — all measures that would require congressional approval. The NRA and other pro-gun groups contend that a culture that glamorizes violence bears more responsibility for mass shootings than access to a wide range of weapons and ammunition.

In a 2009 report, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared, "The evidence is now clear and convincing: Media violence is one of the causal factors of real-life violence and aggression."

The report focused on all types of media violence. But for video games in particular, the pediatricians cited studies that found high exposure to violent ones increased physical aggression at least in the short term, and warned that they allow people to rehearse violent acts. On the other hand, it said friendly video games could promote good behavior.

A wide spectrum of the video game industry was represented at the meeting with the vice president, including the makers of violent war video games like "Call of Duty" and "Medal of Honor" and a representative from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which sets age ratings that on every video game package released in the United States.

The vice president met Thursday with representatives from the entertainment industry, including Motion Picture Association of America and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. In a joint statement after the meeting, a half-dozen said they "look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions" but offered no specifics.

Biden, hinting at other possible recommendations to the president, said he is interested in technology that would keep a gun from being fired by anyone other than the person who bought it. He said such technology may have curtailed what happened last month in Connecticut, where the shooter used guns purchased by his mother.

The vice president has also discussed making gun trafficking a felony, a step Obama can take through executive action. And he is expected to make recommendations for improving mental health care and school safety.

"We know this is a complex problem," Biden said. "We know there's no single answer."

The president plans to push for the new measures in his State of the Union address, scheduled for Feb. 12.

 

Comments

Bluto

Humans are naturally violent , just as most animals are . It is an instinct in all living creatures that helps in survival . You can not blame video games any more then you can blame any other media . Movies, books , songs all have glorified violent behavior . I play these same violent video games and would NEVER think to go into a school and harm children , and I don't believe most people would either . Video games have a rating system just like movies , comic books and music . If as a parent you are not aware of what your children are doing then the fault lies there in . It is up to us parents to teach our children right from wrong . The NRA , and pro-gun advocates are just trying to shift this all on anything else but them , when they are just as responsible as anything else that glorifies violence . After all the gun was created with only one purpose and that is to kill . A gun cannot shield , a gun cannot heal , and a gun cannot bring you back from the dead . It is a tool with one purpose , not just a harmless collectible .

Speakezy

You really can't expect parents to be... well parents can you? That's the governments job isn't it? How do you expect a parent to know what video games their child is playing when their high on crack? That's just stupid! Btw... we played cowboys and Indians when I was growing up and we shot what appeared to be real looking weapons at each other too. Maybe someone needs to look at all the prescription drugs the kids are on today and their side effects!

Bluto

Drugs and alcohol ,do play a big part in all this too . Blaming the government is also a cop-out . Ignoring our responsibilities for our families is a problem that escalates through the generations . All you need for proof of that is to look in the newspaper or read through the court records to see the same names of the same families that come up time after time . The government is always going to be here to point your finger at , but really we should be looking in the mirror to find the source of our children's problems .

Whiskey Tango F...

+3 for all that has been said, but remember, the kids who are doing this can pass background checks and some have never been in any kind of trouble. It's a mental problem with parents sheltering their precious little children. However, that does not excuse the fact that the guns weren't locked up. Any gun not being carried or in use should be locked. I know if you're retired and have no kids it's different, but be resposible. Seems like the liquor cabinets are locked, but the guns are in the closet next to the ammo.

richrs

Even if you are retired any firearms should be secured and ammo secured under different lock. This reduces the risk of loss of firearms to burglary.

KnuckleDragger

How would that work out if you needed the firearm for defensive purposes in a hurry? I could see doing this if you are not present in the home, but I would never keep my gun unloaded with ammo separate while I am present. Besides if a burglar can carry an 800 lb gun cabinet down 2 flights of stairs and then get past the biometric lock on it, I wish him luck. LOL.

richrs

@ Knuckle
In my case the one firearm not secured is the one that leves the house with me when I go. That's the same one near me when I sleep, or just watching TV. Everything else, locked down.

Bluto

"In Gun Debate , Video Game Industry Defends Itself" Perhaps they will also claim that the answer is MORE violent video games . See how ridiculous that sounds .

KnuckleDragger

Yeah, but the Democrat party is in the pockets of Video game makers and the movie industry. There largest donors have come from those two industries, so it is unlikely you will see anything at all done to them. Just follow the money trail. This gun issue is nothing more than a feel good measure for the Dems that doubles as another way that they can attempt to control the populace.

Just Thinkin

What AMERICA needs, are children that are taught that life means something and killing is wrong, until then all this whining and finger pointing is a waste of time and money,We need not take away freedoms because we can't raise our children, if anything take away freebies and entitlements and use that money for schools to teach unity and caring, this post sounds as dumb as the rest why because we are a country of self centered foolish little people who can not and will not work together and just want thier agenda on the table and only themselves on the pedistal, you may not believe in God or the church, but at least they teach love and respect if nothing else.May my GOD BLESS AMERICA,Watch somebody else will blow this post out of the water. why because they want the pedistal LOL

KnuckleDragger

I don't know, my kids know that killing is wrong. They are also trained in proper firearms safety and use. As far as being self-centered, I think it is a little selfish of an obvious minority of people in this country that think the majority who are gun owners, should give up our Constitutional rights just so you can have the illusion of safety. That my friend is self-centered. Just because someone disagrees with your assertions does not mean they put themselves on a pedastal.

mikel

i read an interesting stat distributed by the fbi: in 2011, 323 murders were committed with assualt type weapons and 496 murders were committed with a HAMMER! why aren't hammers being banned?

KnuckleDragger

Because hammers don't look as SCARY as guns. LOL.
"The guns included in my assault weapons ban have been chosen through years of personal research, viewing pictures of them."-Diane Feinstein.

The above quote says it all. It's not about the guns function but about how SCARY it looks. LMAO! Are these people for real? Who keeps putting these boobs back in office?

The fact is, their not going to be able to ban anything. Biden has already admitted that they don't have the votes to do anything. This means they will try to do it by executive order, which will quickly be overturned by the Supreme Court since it would not meet the criteria for one. The Obama administration is gonna have a hard time proving to the SCOTUS that their gun laws via executive order were done due to a current national emergency.

Justme...

Because hammers have other uses. Assault type weapons have only one use: mowing down large groups of people. Get it?

KnuckleDragger

Really? I use my Bushmaster AR-15 to control varmints on my property. It has not once been used to mow down large groups of people. In fact, statistics show that rifles of any sort are used infrequently in homicides and so called assault rifles are used even less (in less than 1%). Another fact, is that in the 10 minutes it took the PD to respond to sandy hook, the shooter could have killed just as many people with a standard revolver and a fanny pack full of moon clips.

Justme...

Sorry knuckle, but you'll never convince me. Get rid of the hammer and how the heck do you pound a nail? Get rid of your Bushmaster AR-15 and you'll figure out another way to control the varmints on your property. Your right to bare arms will not be compromised. Your right to kill varmints with an AR-15 will. I'm ok with that even if you aren't.

safecracker2

Good point. Just as a tire iron or a kitchen knife has a purpose, once it's used to attack a person without provocation it becomes a deadly weapon. Mikel says it doesn't matter the weapon type. True. A 4-shot pepper box can kill people, but I believe the point "justme" is trying to make is the difference in the amount of mass damage in a very short amount of time. Knuckle makes a good point also. The 10 minutes it took to respond to Sandy Hook gave that shooter plenty of time to mass murder those children and teachers. In my opinion, that's why we need to arm our schools in some way. Unfortunately, it will not prevent situations like Aurora from happening. Crazies are everywhere. A little off topic, but I may not like the extra time it takes me to get through security at the airport. I have the choice not to fly. I would like to think those measures have lessened the ability for some wacko getting on a plane and taking it down. With that being said, not everyone is going to be happy, but we can't stand by and continue to do nothing.

Justme...

Agree Safecracker. There's no complete solution here. And one solution MAY have prevented one tradegy, but not all of them. That's no reason to discount the solution. I dislike the NRA's stand on fighting an assault weapons ban because I think they are unreasonable. They fight everything for fear of the NEXT step leading to an infringemet on their rights. That is wrong. We all agree (at least most of us) that there is a line to be drawn somewhere. You can't use bombs to defend yourself. Banning assault weapons will not solve this problem completely. Nothing will. And we'll never know how many may have lived if this guy didn't have legal access to such a weapon. Same goes for the people who died when Gabby Giffords was shot. But clearly these weapons are being used to inflict mass death and huge shock. And I just haven't heard anything to convince me that we need to keep them legal. Killing varmint on your property just isn't enough for me. If its not a weapon a reasonable person would use to defend themselves, we should be able to make it illegal.

KnuckleDragger

It astounds me that you would be for an assault weapons ban. The last one was proven to have almost no affect on gun crime. Even the governments own research showed this to be the truth. The problem isn't assault weapons, it is the fact that we now, instead of institutionalizing people with severe mental health issues, we give them meds and put them back on the streets. This didn't happen decades ago because these deranged people would have been locked up. The fact is an assault weapon ban will do nothing. It woun't get rid of the assault weapons. They will still be readily available on the black market, and the criminal element will be the only ones with access to them. I could care less about changing your mind, because as I said, no ban will be passed in this Congress, and 6 mos from now it will all be forgotten. Why do you think Obama is trying to rush it? He knows that his effort is already losing steam and it is losing more by the day.

KnuckleDragger

Doesn't matter if you are ok with it or not. Fact is, it's not gonna happen. You holier than though gun grabbers get your feathers ruffled about every 5 yrs and your assault on guns is beat right back into submission. Fact is there aren't that many of you and your shining light on the hill is the Brady Bunch, that is outspent by 1000-1 by the NRA. Why is that? Because the majority of Americans don't want gun control, so they don't donate to those organizations. Now you can go back to your room and hide from those scary looking assault rifles because there isn't much of a chance that there will be any ban.

Justme...

The majority of Americans DO want a ban on assault weapons, but that's not really the point. And maybe you're right. The NRA will continue to bully and pay politicians to get their way, to continue to collect your dues...all at the expense of our safety because they are unwilling to be reasonable. Its very very sad. I am anything but a holier than thou gun grabber, but go ahead and think of me that way.

KnuckleDragger

Then you haven't looked at the polls. They are a 60/40 split. Only in liberals mind would 40% be considered a majority. LMAO.

Justme...

Here is what I see just released this morning by Pew Research. When you say 60/40 I have no idea what poll you are talking about.
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn...
I am anything but liberal. In fact, this is one of the only issues where I agree with liberals. What I am is reasonable.

mikel

tell that to the people's families that were killed with hammers.

target shooting. many people including myself just like to shoot. i can pump out as many rounds just as fast with my 9mil handgun as you can with an ar15. has nothing to do with weapon type.

KnuckleDragger

Yeah mikel, but you might scare some poor gun grabber with the sight of an AR-15. The way I look at at it, is that if someone breaks into my house and is scared by an AR 15 then there is a good chance they could survive the encounter...maybe

SAHM

So, next on the list should be rap music and movies, right?

Contango

The Progressives under "Tipper" Gore already tried something like that and failed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S...

Contango

There are important as well as legal differences between the words "killing" and "murder."

The actual subject under debate is: Murder

Rabbi

It's parents who should be defending themselves, not the gaming industry. For some reason, too many parents use video games as a babysitter, or are more concerned with being the child's "friend" or ensuring that their child "fits in." In other words, parents give the child what they want when they want it in order to keep the child quiet.
It's clear that children can learn while gaming, and as an educational tool, video games can hlep children develop abstract thought/critical thinking skills. It's really not a stretch at all to assert that kids are learning violent behavior from video games- Anyone who adequately understands psycho-social development can tell you that. This depends on the content. If the primary function of the game is death and destruction, then that is what they will learn. Many of these games are targeted toward men in their 30's and 40's- they're not designed for pre-teens and teens. Video games come with a ratings clearly posted on the package. Part of the problem is that parents view video games/technology as nothing more than something for "kids." It's parents who should be accountable for what their children are doing- not the gaming industry.

Whiskey Tango F...

Not to bash the administration, but over 500 murders in his old stomping grounds of Chicago and nothing done. The elected officials are in jail for corruption, they have no gun shop in their community, they have the strictest gun laws on the books. Please at least be honest with yourself that maybe the person who is sick enough to take another human beings life is the true root of this problem. How many funerals did the POTUS attend in Chicago his own home town? The media seems to leave this out of their one sided coverage of their agenda.

Contango

Mr. Obama was far too busy helping to pump up the heated and bigoted rhetoric of the Trayvon Martin shooting for political purposes to be bothered with any Chicago or Detroit funerals.

"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." - Pres. Obama

Pete

You think? The MSM has been covering for him even before he was elected.

Did you see what NY State is proposing? They came up with a 7 round limit for magazines. Where did that number come from? Seems because it would make a vast majority of guns against the law. Quite a few models hold 8 rounds. So 7 would make those illegal.

Most of my compact carry versions are 8+1.

OMG.LOL.WT_

When these discussions start, someone always comes up with the "right to bare arms". Always good for a laugh.

Just Thinkin

A correction 90% of AMERICANS are self centered and only 85% want the pedistal and 10% stand on thier soap box Other than that the rest is pretty much my view, and if you disagree and argue the point then your either on the pedistal or your soap box, as I have the same right so far to post my views, So parents teach your children right and thats all, done discussing this round and round self serving blog .Later ain't checking back so save your whine's till you can bring some cheese to the party,Bye Bye,

KnuckleDragger

Well at least we know how ignorant you are.

luvblues2

The gov't and media has found yet another way to misdirect us on how they spend our money. It is coming tax time and if you make ten bucks an hour, since January 1st, your first hour of the days pay just got shoved to Social Security.

"Ummm...YEAH! GUNS!...and uh...crap....{tap, tap, tap} OH YEAH! That RAPE IN EASTERN OHIO! What about that RAPE in India?! Etc. Etc...

KnuckleDragger

You are right, the guns thing is being used to get peoples minds off the fact that the govt' still isn't dealing with its fiscal problems.

gilamonster

As a kid we watched shows considered violent at the time, “played war” as kids using realistic looking guns without orange tips, listened to “devil” music. For the most part we turned out ok, so for me to squarely blame entertainment would make me a hypocrite. We also came from households where most had loaded rifles or shotguns next to a door for utilitarian purposes. (Porch gun)And from a young age learned gun safety and respect.

I think something wrong with society today, not just here in America either. I guess the only thing we had that a lot of these kids don’t would be parental guidance.

I do believe entertainment and video games influence today’s kids, not sure why. I don’t understand this whole zombie apocalypse craze or the gangsta-rap culture that glorify gunplay, or video games where you can sell dope, pick up prostitutes, murder, etc. These industries want to completely wash their hands from what they glorify.

You got that right, entertainment industry is in the Democrats pockets, Biden wont jeopardize that. I mean after all Tipper Gore thought Prince songs were influential, you know with her PMRC.

"Because hammers have other uses. Assault type weapons have only one use: mowing down large groups of people. Get it?" and what fraction of crime are committed with assualt weapons? So if grey cars kill more people than orange cars, every car should be painted orange?

Gun salesmen of the year award goes to: Feinhole, Biden, Ohbummer, Bloomsquirt; special award for arming Mexican drug dealers goes to Eric "AR" Holder...hahaha.....

Contango

Heck, this Admin. can't even keep track of SAM missiles.

They'll probably blame the NRA.

"Nightmare in Libya: Thousands of Surface-to-Air Missiles Unaccounted For":

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ni...

shucks

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz !!!

Dr. Information

More guns in the hands of good responsible people.........:)))))))))

OMG.LOL.WT_

I am for the right to bear arms. Arms bare or covered by sleeves, I don't care.
Assault is a silly designation for a rifle or hand gun.
I'll get off the pedestal now.

Sitting In The ...

Typical Republicans bash the Democrats and offer no solutions of your own because your to busy babbling on about how there going to go door to door and take your guns. Evidently you are unaware gun violence was happening in these cities BEFORE he became president. So please keep blaming him for everything it sure beats actually doing anything useful. Bash the Democrats all you want but at least they appear to be looking at possible solutions. Can you Republicans say the same?

Dr. Information

Yup, spot on. Your beloved Democrats are running this country GREEATTTTT!!!! Hows the debt? Hows the new taxes and future ones to come? No spending cuts....ahh thats ok, we will just print more money until China says enough then tax everyone that makes a decent living 100% and tell them...its for the best of their country.

Whats going to kill us first. A gun ban or this national debt and everything related to it. I'd choose the later.

shucks

.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Not having the educational background nor professional certification to handle matters of law or medicine, I can only really "professionally" comment on the entertainment leg of the stool. Or rather, offer solutions. Parent involvement is, as has even been mentioned by responders here before, key. It allows parents/guardians to provide context for the content of the game. To reinforce at home that "this is good, this is bad, or this is why those characters are fighting/loving each other". Not all children have the (who'd think that this could be considered as such?) luxury of one, two, or even parents that care about their interests let alone life and how to live it. So, no context is given for the games they play and children are left to develop their own thoughts which we can only hope don't turn into realized violence.

Even addressing these cases and presuming the kid at least attends a school, these are suggestions I have heard discussed in the store and/or have thought of or added to on my own:

1. Bring in not just police but retired/active soldiers or victims of a gun wound into the class. This puts real faces on the people on both ends of the barrel. It shows the real consequences for gun use. It de-mystifies and de-romanticises guns. It doesn't have to be all scare tactic. It should be address in a "real" manner. Straightforward. Answering questions. Just as is (I presume) the stated intention of sexual education in schools: gun education is meant to confront a problem or help guide a choice before either neglectful ignorance or willful abuse occurs.

2. Introduce martial arts or some kind of certified self-defense class in P.E. Not only is martial arts an extremely low-cost sport (trying to respect tight school budgets) and great form of exercise, it carries a message of respect and philosophy of thought that should neither conflict with the teachings practitioners of various faiths already study nor do many forms actually promote offense over defense. Most communities across the country (but drawing locally here) have one or more certified trainers who may be willing to volunteer their services or contract for a small price. It is healthy, competitive, and teaches self-preservation techniques.

3. Along the lines programs like the (J)ROTC or Boy Scouts do, introduce a marksman sport club in schools like ski clubs. Compete at conservatories and shoot paper targets or clay pigeons. Teach the proper respect, care, and use of guns. Make them less scary so that in situations involving them more rational thought than usual can be used in a crisis. This could even include archery, which akin to martial arts, can be a very low cost but competitive sport (kendo could be thrown in here as well). None of the participants are encouraged to kill nor taught to respond with violence. But it makes for more informed young people and better decision making skills overall that can help spread those teachings to their peers. Sharing knowledge is a source of pride for many young people (and I don't just mean gossip).

None of the three, even if they were all enacted, can prevent a tragedy. But they can all help and offer even those kids who don't have a source of life's lessons at home a way to take responsibility and learn how to be a better, more knowledgeable person. At little theorized cost to the schools/taxpayers, might I add.

As for a legal/medical opinion to help weave a support net to this problem? Well, again as I am not a professional in these fields please don't attack me if this sounds crazy, if many psychiatric medicines include side effects that include "increased risk of suicide" I wonder if that can translate to homicide too? In that case, should any of those who take a chemical-balancing mix have their ability to legally own and operate a gun suspended until a doctor writes off on it? Should a medical patient have to register with the police they are "at risk" and/or turn over any guns they possess until they are dismissed of the condition? Should doctors or the patients themselves be required to notify friends and family of the medical/legal restrictions placed on them so that more risk of something happening can be avoided? These questions get into sticky privacy territory, and while we do in fact receive the protections of the second amendment, there is a seemingly uncontested red line regarding limitation when it comes to one's background or competency to handle a weapon. Of course illegal ownership is what it is, too...

eriemom

The problem is that a) we have violent videos, b) we watch violent movies, c) we have crazy people.

Other countries don't have mass murders/massacres, yet they too have all of the above. Well, maybe not as many batcrap crazies.

What IS different?

Warhol_89

What ever happened to the good old days of the Super Mario Brothers when all parents had to worry about was their kids attempting to jump and smash their heads on objects above them...

I can see how violent games can set bad examples for children to an extent, that's why there's the ESRB rating on each game which shows it's intended age group, and most of the gun games are for Teen and Mature audiences. Parents should heed the ESRB ratings on the game covers, that's part of their responsibility if they are going to allow their kids to play videogames.