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The topic of gun violence and its relationship with video games continues to be a pressing topic as the United States government works to grapple with daily tragedies. Following the unthinkable events in Newtown, Connecticut last December, the issue of gun control and violent media has been in the spotlight. Numerous studies have been unable to determine correlation between video games and violent tendencies, but one senator is prepared to throw the weight of Congress against the gaming industry.
Earlier this week, California’s Dianne Feinstein spoke to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on a number of topics, including gun control. The senator is known for her firm stance against firearms, but in this latest appearance, she had some strong words for the video game industry.
Video games provide “a very negative role for young people, and the industry ought to take note of that,” Feinstein said. She also shared her desire to see the industry produce products that aren’t focused on large firearms. She warned that Congress might decide to take measures of its own.
While Feinstein is correct that many titles do feature big guns, her statements ignore the wealth of far less violent games available. Especially with the popularity of Lego titles, Angry Birds, and the upcoming Disney Infinity, young people have options that are free from gun violence. Journey, which received a number of Game of the Year awards, is the antithesis of the type of game Feinstein described. Those experiences are out there, and their prevalence is growing.
More troubling than the uninformed approach taken by the senator is the implication for free speech. Per a United States Supreme Court ruling in 2011, video games are afforded protections under the first amendment. Were Feinstein successful in rallying Congress to pursue the gaming industry, she might have a difficult time enacting legislation that could stand an appearance before the nine justices.
[Source: CBS 5 KPIX via Examiner]
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