In The Wake Of Sandy Hook, Calls For Game Regulation Continue

While Oklahoma lawmakers rightfully refused to introduce game regulation related legislation this year, the calls for such regulation from many uninformed people continue. We already wrote about one oped calling for an extra tax be levied on the entertainment industry. However, the larger issue of the public's opinion on violent gaming is something that will have to be addressed for many years to come.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that video games, even violent ones, are protected by the First Amendment and cannot be regulated outside current obscenity laws. Despite that ruling and in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, people are calling for "something to be done" about violent games. Even the President has called for more research to be done in the area of violent gaming and its relationship to violent behavior. So is it really any surprise to see more opeds calling for "something to be done"?

The first oped actually calls for a ban on video games.

We are all still in shock over the tragedy at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut last month – in addition to the incidents in Colorado and Oregon. Rather than immediately attacking the National Rifle Association and rushing through more gun control, I wonder why a ban – or certainly more control – for video games has not been considered.


These children appear to be in a hypnotic state while their hands are moving like crazy, causing destruction. They are learning how to create violence. Why is it surprising that later they actually may not be able to separate fantasy from reality?


They are not being taught that acting out these "games" is a serious crime that has devastating consequences. Boys seem to be more addicted to these types of violent videos and the attacks in Colorado, Oregon and Connecticut were committed by young males.


I'm not naive enough to think this is the cause of all increasing crime, but these videos could be responsible for some of the violence, and should be considered as a great possibility.


Citizens (competent) have the right to own firearms for their own protection. No matter how large our police force, there cannot ever be enough officers to take care of everyone. We have to be able to take care of ourselves when necessary.


A study might be in order to decide if these videos are banned or controlled or even require a license.

It is very interesting to read someone actually coming out and saying that video games are more dangerous than guns and should be banned. Whatever your views on gun control may be, the idea that a video game is more dangerous and more deserving of regulation, bans and licensing (?) is completely absurd. As for studies, there have already been many done which found no causal links between violent games and violent behavior.

Our next oped, while not calling for specific actions to be taken, does make the tenuous claim that violent media is a significant "why" factor in violent behavior.

Laws banning certain weapons won't deter anyone who is intent on shooting another person. The banning of guns only leaves the honest person more defenseless against the criminal world, who will have plenty of weapons. The call for a weapons ban only makes Obama "look" more presidential while surrounded by armed guards.


"Why" needs to be addressed. Violent video games and motion pictures just train people that to shoot someone is no big deal, it's just another game. Until we quit training unstable people that it's OK to shoot someone in a video or movie, the mass shootings will continue.

Now, I am not going to make the claim that playing violent games has no impact on the life and behavior of kids. I certainly believe that everything we consume has some impact on our development. Yet, based on the research available, there is nothing that would lead me to believe that a normal, stable child will become a violent killer solely because he/she played violent games or watched violent movies. Granted, this writer does qualify the statement by using the word "unstable" when describing violent people; however, it does imply that "something must be done" about violent media.

Finally, we come to the most reasonable oped to date on this issue. This person recognizes that regulating or banning violent games is not the answer.

My heart aches when I hear about another mass murder by some deranged individual as they abused their constitutional right to have and bear arms. Even more heartbreaking is the pathetic action by some well-meaning citizens to try to curb this violent behavior by putting restrictions on that constitutional right.


Some speculate that these despicable acts are motivated by the impact of violent movies and especially video games. A majority of these murderers did have an unhealthy obsession with violence as a result of viewing the violent acts depicted in video games and movies. Lack of regard for human life can often be the product of such viewing.


What is the solution? Gun control has never worked and it will not work in this case. Fifty-six million people were exterminated in the last 90 years because they were defenseless due to gun control. (Soviet Union, Turkey, Germany, China, Guatemala, Uganda and Cambodia, Eastern Europe.)


Regulation of movies and video games is as much an infringement of First Amendment rights as gun control is an infringement of Second Amendment rights. Regulation and government control is not the answer.


Breakdown of the family unit and lack of adult supervision is the root of the problem. Viewing of violent movies and video games should not be allowed in our homes and should be replaced by having meals together, family time, family devotion and prayer time.


Our children need us to listen. It is not about us and our careers, but them.

I agree that parents need to take responsibility for the media their children consume. Parents are the strongest influence on the development of children and those who take a more proactive approach will have a better and stronger relationship with their children. Yet, I do take issue with the idea that such games should not be allowed in our homes. Some parents, especially those with older children, may feel that violent media is ok in their homes. That is a personal choice. If you do not want to allow such games in your home, that is fine, but don't look down on those who feel it is fine. Those parents are raising their children and you are raising yours.

As game industry professionals, we need to be out there educating the populous about gaming and what is currently known about it. Some people will not be reasoned with, but when they do make absurd statements such as that above, we need to be out there countering their statements with reason and facts. We cannot stand idly by holding up the US Supreme Court ruling as a placard. We need to be out there using it along with the many other great resources available as tools in the fight against false and inaccurate information.

– Game Politics Correspondent E. Zachary Knight

– Source

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  1. 0
    Hevach says:

    More or less. The common thread is a disturbed mind. Problem is, if the media turns the same attention to this matter than it current is to video game violence, they will blame the NRA's advice, and things will not go well for gun owners.

  2. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    The common patterns seems to be the "the government is going to collpase/come after me and my guns at some point, possible, maybe….. I BETTER GET THEM BEFORE THEY GET ME!!!"

  3. 0
    ecco6t9 says:

    Guns and Media are not 100% responsible in mass killings, anyone telling you it's one or the other intends to censor the one they are against.

    We are all pawns in this game.

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Which would mean that the people making such a claim have never played it, and won't watch so much as a Let's Play because that will challenge their preconceptions.

  5. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    It's funny how moral crusaders always act like they can never be influenced by the media they try to shut down. In their arrogance they beleive themselves to be better than everyone else.

  6. 0
    NyuRena says:

    So for their premise to hold water they have to admit that THEY THEMSELVES would be violent criminals if they had grown up with video games.

    Go #$$% yourselves sideways, you lead brain damaged idiots!

  7. 0
    Hevach says:

    The reaction in most games is so disproportionate, too. Skyrim guards are a bit less bloodthirsty than they were in Morrowind or Oblivion, but they'll still fight to the death over a loaf of bread you accidentally pressed the spacebar on.

    GTA is worse. Gently bump a cop car at a red light, and if you're lucky he'll just drag you out of the car and throw you on the pavement, which is excessive enough. But most of the time he just starts shooting at you, at which point anything you do except die will will just spiral the situation out of control.

  8. 0
    Dan says:

    They are not being taught that acting out these "games" is a serious crime that has devastating consequences. Boys seem to be more addicted to these types of violent videos and the attacks in Colorado, Oregon and Connecticut were committed by young males.

    Really? To use the most common example, Grand Theft Auto, kids are taught that lawbreaking will result in cops and eventually Tanks and Hueys coming after them. Is that not a devastating consequence?

    In Skyrim, the guards are telepathic. You can commit a crime in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses and the guards will somehow know and immediately dogpile you on sight.


    But I digress. One of the proudest traditions in gaming is running into someone's house without permission and smashing jars and rifling through chests for rupees without penalty.

  9. 0
    Hevach says:

    Interestingly, it seems to have been trumpeted most by the NRA – the media speculated as always, but the NRA was the first one to "know," and they've been unusually loud about it.

    The last few major shootings hit very close to home for the NRA, and they really need a scapegoat right now.

    See, the NRA's always told people to be prepared, and prepared means guns. They've shifted over the years on what you should be prepared for – natural disaster, civil unrest, foreign invasion, and the old standbys of crime, home invasion, and the government going to far. Some of it's not even bad advice taken as it is, but it resonates in bad ways with the paranoid or delusional.

    The Sandy Hook shooter got the guns from his mother, who the media outed as a doomsday prepper in the early days after the shooting. The Aurora shooter had been preparing for "something" for a long time, before he began telling people about his fantasy of killing a lot of people. The Wisconsin temple shooter had been preparing for years because he said the President was going to start purging white people.

    All people who'd stockpiled weapons beyond what was used, and for purposes that were not the crimes committed.

    The pattern continues: The police shootings in Pittsburgh in 2009, Glenn Beck got blamed for setting the guy off but he'd been preparing most of his adult life for the day the government would come for his guns. The Geneva County killer the same year had been stockpiling dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition for years for unknown purposes, and didn't use any of it. A number of school shooters, like the Sandy Hook shooter, got their guns from parents who were likewise trying to be prepared for… something, and more than a few of those shooters have been painted by media and prosecutors as the unhealthy product of unhealthy parents.

    This is an old pattern. It's frankly a disturbing one, too. A lot of wrong conclusions would be drawn from it if it was viewed in the same light that the video game debate is right now. No problem if the same wrong conclusions are drawn from something else, that's outside the NRA's scope.

    If they had forethought on this, they'd be singing a different tune. As scapegoats dry up, more and more attention falls on the guns every time, and eventually this pattern will get more than a passing mention on a slow news day. It'll get the headlines. And at that point the NRA will be out of luck, because it'll only be a matter of time before major restrictions are passed.

  10. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I still don't get where people are drawing the connection between Sandy Hook and video games.  As far as I've seen, the only evidence that the shooter played games at all came from an inference made by a plumber who saw posters of military equipment in his bedroom.

    And this interview came from The Sun for crying out loud!


    Andrew Eisen

  11. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    Yes, your knee-jerk assault on a constitutionally guaranteed freedom is sooooo morally superior to their knee-jerk assault on a constitutionally guaranteed freedom.

  12. 0
    Wymorence says:

    Woah now, let's not rush off the cuff and start talking about GUNS here… Instead let's rush off the cuff and start talking about banning GAMES!

    yeah, great idea…

  13. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    I like how the first author comments that people have the right to bear arms to defend themselves.  Now I've read the second amendment.  And I see it as pretty clear that the intent was to allow people to have a "well regulated militia", not carry around guns just in case.

    And yes, I understand that this is not the interpretation that SCOTUS takes.

  14. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Well, you see, the majority of those drivers must have just finished Grand Theft Auto 4 which teaches you that driving drunk is consequence free.


    Andrew Eisen

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