Reducing gun violence in the United States will take a comprehensive effort that includes parents discussing violent video games with their children. Speaking to CBS This Morning today, Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie said he forbids violent games from entering his household.
"We've got to talk about violence in these video games," Christie said. "I have four kids at home; I don't allow Call of Duty or these other [violent] games in. We have to start talking about that as parents."
Talking about gun control is not enough, Christie added. He said the subject of mental illness, which carries a stigma in the US, must also be discussed in the wake of last month's deadly elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn.
"You look at what happened in Connecticut; that young man was obviously mentally ill," Christie said. "He needed to be getting treatment, and I think there's such a stigma about mental illness and mental illness treatment in our country because we don't talk about it. It's an illness just like anything else."
In addition to addressing violent games and mental illness, Christie said if gun violence in the US is to be reduced, substance abuse and its link to violence must be put under the microscope. The governor pointed out that a woman in Camden, NJ decapitated her infant child and then killed herself when she was high on crack.
"So talk about all of it," Christie said. "I think we need to do things in all four of those categories."
Violent video games have been the subject of much discussion following the schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut last month that left 20 children and six adults dead. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre stated in December that violent video games are partially to blame for the shooting rampage.
West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller also entered the discussion when he introduced a Bill to Congress that would direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate how violent games and other such programming affect children.
Additionally, US Vice President Joe Biden will meet with representatives from the video game industry this month to discuss the role of violent games as part of a wider task force looking into the role of violent media in mass shootings. The task force is also set to look at access to mental health and disability services, and meet with parent, teacher, and education groups.
Biden will also meet with representatives from the NRA, victims' groups, hunting groups, and gun owners to discuss possible policy changes to reduce gun violence, including proposed legislation to ban assault rifles.