Originally published: January 30, 2013
Last updated: February 14, 2013 - 9:17pm
On Jan 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine the causes of gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown (CT). Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested that violent video games can lead to real-world violence.
"There are too many video games that celebrate the mass killing of innocent people — games that despite attempts at industry self-regulation find their way into the hands of children," he said. Sen Grassley pointed to evidence that a mass killer in Norway had played the popular "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" game and had referred to the game as part of his "training simulation." "Where is the artistic value in shooting innocent civilians?" Sen Grassley asked. "I share Vice President Biden’s disbelief of manufacturer denials that these games have no effect on real-world violence," Sen Grassley said. Grassley's comments, which came in his opening statement, were some of the only mentions of violent video games during the hearing, which focused mostly on gun control proposals.
NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre, in suggesting the problem was larger than guns, also suggested one of those other factors was "incredibly violent video games." Captain Mark Kelly, Rep Gabby Giffords' husband, told the committee that they both supported Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research into gun violence, which the White House has indicated will include research into the impact of entertainment violence on societal violence. "Remove the limitations on the CDC and other public health organizations on collecting data and conducting scientific research on gun violence," Kelly told the committee. "As a fighter pilot and astronaut, I saw the value of using data to achieve our military and scientific objectives. We wouldn't have gotten to the moon or built the International Space Station without robust use of data to make informed decisions. It is simply crazy that we limit gun violence data collection and analysis when we could use that knowledge to save lives."
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