The Link Between Violence In Video Games And Gun Violence In America

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Gun violence is something that is taking place every minute that passes by. According to the CDC, Every 17 minutes one person is killed by a firearm which brings to 87 people during an average day, and 609 every week (CDC 2019). Almost 50% of the total number of civilian guns are owned by Americans. The second amendment secures the ownership of firearms. The right to own a gun is considered by some Americans to be a birthright, yet with the crime rates rapid rise each day it becomes clear that something needs to change. There are not a few but many believe that the second amendment needs to be ratified since some are taking advantage of their rights to bear firearms. Lawmakers say guns are for protection, but the reality is different, and guns are responsible for the most murders and mass shootings. The controversy is that American has the right to bear arms, but others dispute that our society needs more gun control. Some celebrated authors claim that both sides of this controversy are wrong when it comes to the gun debate. Liberals declare that if we only focus on regulations and ban firearms, there would be no more gun violence yet on the other hand conservatives insist that the solution to gun violence is more guns. This paper attempts to depict the logic that encouraged the country’s forefathers to ratify the second amendment. Through such depictions, the reader is encouraged to drop conservative reasoning and appreciate that times have indeed changed. This paper is effective in advocating for gun control as the best solution to the gun problem our country is facing by showing that gun violence is not a consequence of violent video games.

American society is getting used to public shootings. Our nation has dealt with numerous tragedies over the past decades. Shooting in schools, malls, driveways, and so many other places become a major breaking story for news outlets. According to Giffords law center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on gun violence shows an increase of mass murder occurring almost everywhere due to gun availability (Giffords 2019). One of the most upsetting tragedies in the US occurred in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut brought the issue of gun control to the forefront. The NRA responded to this tragic event by calling for armed guards and teachers in all schools and gun-training classes for all teachers. The NRA idea about arming the teacher become a main political debate while armed-trained police who were just 20 seconds away from the incident could not protect the people from the fully armed motivated murdered with an AR-15. According to the NCBI statistics, firearms are responsible for more than 31,000 deaths and 74,000 non-fatal injuries every year. Most of these incidents are violence-related and understanding the relationship between gun ownership and firearm-related morality is crucial.

After two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, the role of video games in our society has grabbed a heated spotlight. The shooter in El Paso referenced Call of Duty, a popular animation game in which the player assumes the role of a soldier during fictional and historical war times. This mention of the game might have prompted the president to go back to a theme he had emphasized before. The President, Donald Trump, suggested an association between video games and real-life violence; his sentiments echoed opinions shared by a few other lawmakers following the mass shootings. This response has earned acclaim from major media establishments and retailers: ESPN, for example, chose not to delay an advertisement of an esports tournament due to the shootings. This decision showed that the media outlet believed that there is a link between real-life violence and violent games. Wal-Mart, on the other hand, decided to remove all violent video game displays, albeit temporarily, from all its stores. The retailers, simply, implied that there is a strong causative link between gun violence and the popularity of violent video games.

What scientists, the American general population, and leaders do not agree upon is whether violent video games have an overall hindrance or benefit to the society and the players. Even though such games have received acclaim before for their ability to boost physical health, social interaction, and learning, they have been deeply questioned as causes for violence or aggression. Most of the American population continues to believe that violent games can trigger gun violence, and this issue was affirmed in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas. A 2017 study found that about 65 percent of American adults believed that violent games contribute significantly to gun violence. The belief is higher among people above the age of 65, with over 82 percent of seniors claiming that there is a clear connection.

It is a dull argument to link violence to video games. It is an unthinking emotional reaction of a nation of people who often make an excuse for failed parenting. Look at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Columbine, and Aurora, the one thing that is constant in all of these tragedies is that the perpetrator(s) gave off red flags before the shootings. The problems from manic depression to textbook schizophrenia were identified months even years before shootings took place. In studies that try and link video games to violence, there is much bias because they will often look to see if a child owned a copy of Call of Duty and say that is the key reason why violence happens when that cannot be further from the truth. Video games are the most common entertainment unit among children, teenagers, and even young adults. Despite the very simple definition of video games, gamers are constantly under the influence of their virtual reality world. Because of the realism and advancement in the video game industry, today's video games can easily influence the player and make them more aggressive even if the game is not violent at all. The terminology 'Violent Video Games' that we referred to in this paper will include video games in which involves torture, massacring, killing, sexual violence and a similar act of violence. However how virtual games regardless of how real the games are can cause such rational behavior by an individual. If we apply the same logic to the soccer games, individual playing sports games like FIFA must be better on those sports. A person who spends hours playing soccer game should become a professional player over time. So how a violent game can impact and inspire an individual but not a sports game? Matt Peckham in his article, “Researcher Says Linking Video Games to Gun Violence Is a Classic Illusory Correlation' answered this question by stating that there is a big difference between being human and harming fantasy beings (Peckham 32).

There is another debate on the correlation between video games and violence. New studies have extensively investigated this gun violence issue to see whether there is a causal link between video games and violent behavior, and while there isn’t quite a consensus, there is broad agreement that no such link exists. People who blame the game consoles and video games as the main issue consider the United State as the only land area on earth whose residence play video games. Western countries like Canada, Germany, Britain, and Australia do not have similar rates of gun murders or mass shootings. The rate of using video games is much higher in countries like Japan and China yet their citizens are not arming themselves in a bid to shoot people to show their appreciation for a video game. But Japan, China, and South Korea have very strict laws limiting gun ownership therefore they are among the lowest rates of violent crime in the world. Politicians have long blamed violent video games for mass shootings. But experts say there is no real causal link between games like Doom and deadly real-life violence.

Furthermore, the US has a long history of gun violence way before the invention of computers and game consoles. The first piece of national gun control legislation was passed on June 26, 1934. The National Firearms Act (NFA) — part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal for Crime” was meant to curtail “gangland crimes of that era such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” According to the BBC, the rate of gun violence in the US has not changed a lot during the last 50 years. It rose but what the rate of a mass shooting and gun violence per capita remained the same as 50 years ago. This is just another proof that the theory of video games and gun violence connection is just a hoax.

Gun violence is not a consequence of violent video games but rather the repercussion of inappropriate gun legislation. When we deeply look into the gun violence issue, we find a noticeable pattern. In most of the mass shootings, one specific rifle is involved and that is the AR-15 assault rifle which is designed for a quick and efficient massacre of human beings. The same rule applies to large-capacity ammunition magazines. The question is why should average citizen need such a kind of firearm or magazine for protection? The AR-15 was used in most of the massacres including Newton, Connecticut, Parkland school shooting, and even the 2017 Las Vegas shooting which killed 58 people and wounded 413 who gathered there for the music festival on Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.

There is another pattern that is very prominent in the gun violence issue. States have a different rate of gun ownership. By going over the statistics, we will notice a strange correlation pattern between the gun ownership rate and the total number of gun murders. California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Illinois are the states with the highest rate of gun ownership and also the highest rate of gun violence. The only exception is Alaska which is number 1 as far as the number of guns sold and bear by an individual but lowest gun violence.

Many gun policy proposals are politically divisive, but there are some on which Republicans and Democrats agree. Almost 91% of Republicans and 92% democrats are in favor of preventing people with mental illnesses or a history of mental illness from buy guns. They also agree in stricter background checks on all individuals and eliminating legal loopholes for purchasing a firearm. Moreover, almost 88% of Democrats are in favor of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like AR-15 while this percentage and about 31% in the Republican party. These statistics prove that both parties, which represent most of the American populace, believe that the ultimate solution to the gun violence menace is enacting proper legislation.

While guns do not kill people, they make it easier for those with ill intentions to carry on with their intentions. Even though the constitution prohibits the Congress from ratifying any law or policy that prohibits the American person from picking up arms, we should think of making it hard for those with mental issues from obtaining the firearms. Although the negative influence that video games have on the general social well-being of the younger generations has been established through science, there is a need to get more supporting evidence to prove that there is a link between such violent games and the human massacre. All in all, it is accurate to state that violent games do not cause violent behavior among young adults and children alike (Underwood 32).

Indeed, one popular comment that politicians and mistaken ideologists make is to suggest that video games are the main cause of gun violence in the country. Conservatives claim violent video games involve shooting innocent pedestrian in street especially where the gamers are the first person in the game may trigger an unusual behavior and as a result of that a tendency to act on it in the real world. Certainly, developed countries like the US should still not deal with issues like gun violence. It is time for gun violence to come to an end. Lawmakers must find a solution to keep the right to bear arms and also reduce the rate of violence. While lawmakers cannot pass laws that prohibit one from picking up arms, they can certainly make it hard for them to have one. Appropriate legislation on gun control, and not a ban on violent video games, is the best solution to the gun problem our country is facing.

About 99% of recent academic studies do not support the opinion that there is a link between violence and video games. Even though most of the murderers and mass shooters have played violent games at one point in their upbringing, scientific studies have shown that they were not primarily motivated by such games. It is not surprising that most politicians would choose to perpetuate a non-existent correlation between gun violence and video games. Indeed, from high profile murders to mass shootings, the easy and constant access to heavy ammunition has made gun violence a thorn in the flesh for both the American public and Congress. The American public considers the existing gun control laws to be ineffective and in need of reforms. However, there is little hope in how our representatives will go about this, especially given that big corporations and retail stores like Wal-Mart still have arms on their shelves to this date. This is utter contrast to other nations like Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland that have enacted strict gun ownership laws. Even though the US public believes in their right to bear arms, as referenced in the constitution, most Americans find the need to enact reforms and changes in as far as bearing arms is concerned. Statistics prove that the US holds about half of the total number of civilian guns: this is a daunting finding. Indeed, we have to assess gun violence and put in place gun control measures while ensuring that we do not deny people their Second Amendment rights. 

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