Vice President, Joe Biden is looking at the role of violent movies and videogames in mass shootings. Photo courtesy of: Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Vice President, Joe Biden is looking at the role of violent movies and videogames in mass shootings. Photo courtesy of: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By AARON YNCLAN, Guest Writer

Following the recent attack in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama has assigned a task force to discuss the issue of gun violence and control with various video game makers expected to attend.

On December 14, nearly 30 children and adults were killed when Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, resulting in the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Since then, the topic of gun control has become increasingly heated with both sides screaming for a solution. In response, President Obama announced that a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden was being formed to discuss possible solutions to control gun violence. The story is being covered by Reuters, who have said, “Biden’s task force is examining legislation that would ban assault rifles, but is also looking at the role of violent movies and videogames in mass shootings and whether there is adequate access to mental health services.”

In the past, violent video games have often been labeled as the cause of real-life tragedies, and the Connecticut shootings are no exception. During a press conference held on December 21, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre branded the gaming industry “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people,” and called upon parents to protect their children. This was mere days after Sen. Jay Rockefeller proposed a bill that would study “the impact of violent content, including video games and video programming, on children.”

In response, the Entertainment Consumers Association, a non-profit organization, has since sent an open letter to Vice President Biden, saying, “Studies show that media does not cause violence. Christopher J. Ferguson, Chair of Texas A&M International University’s Department of Psychology & Communication, has shown through his work that there’s no link between violent video games and real world violence like mass shooting, bullying or youth aggression. Others’ work, including federally funded studies, all agree.” (For the full letter, visit gamepolitics.com).

The meetings are expected to begin this week, and attendants so far include NRA lobbyist James J. Baker and Entertainment Software Association (ESA) CEO Michael Gallagher, among others.
For new developments on this story, visit Reuters.com.

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