Obama calls for game violence research

[UPDATE] US President directs Centers for Disease Control to conduct further studies on relationship between virtual violence and real-world violence; the ESA responds.


President Barack Obama today ordered more research be done to investigate the relationship between video games and real-world violence. As part of a $500 million, 23-point plan, Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other research agencies to conduct further research into the matter in the wake of December's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

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The Obama administration is calling on Congress to allocate $10 million for the CDC to conduct its research. Vice President Joe Biden met with gaming leaders--including Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello and Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher--last week to discuss gun violence.

Obama's plan to conduct more research into game violence is not the only such ongoing initiative. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller's dead-but-not-defeated proposition would task the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of violent video games and other programs on children. Rockefeller plans to re-introduce the bill to Congress this month.

"Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely," reads a statement from the White House. "The President strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. But to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson, there are four common-sense steps we can take right now."

In addition to tasking the CDC with conducting more research on video game violence, Obama's plan includes closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.

"While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action," the statement continues. "If even one child’s life can be saved, then we need to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for our children, our communities, and the country we love."

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, the Entertainment Software Association issued a statement on the news to Joystiq. It states that scientific research has proven entertainment does not cause real-world violent behavior and notes the organization will continue to work with Obama and Congress to find solutions.

"ESA appreciates President Obama's and Vice President Biden's leadership and the thoughtful, comprehensive process of the White House Gun Violence Commission. We concur with President Obama's call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report's conclusion that the entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play.

"The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.

"We will embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States, and continue to collaborate with the Administration and Congress as they examine the facts that inform meaningful solutions."

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