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.




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 .


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!


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.


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.


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.


@ 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.


"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 .


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
I am anything but liberal. In fact, this is one of the only issues where I agree with liberals. What I am is reasonable.


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.


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


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


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


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

The actual subject under debate is: Murder


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.