The Gun Control Debate on Video Game Violence

Illustration By: Diana Parra Garcia

Illustration By: Diana Parra Garcia

President Trump met with various video game representatives and members of Congress from Florida, Missouri, and Alabama last Thursday, March 8. The meeting focused on violence in video games and how they impact children.

Video game violence has always been a hotly-contested debate in America. Even more so in 2018, video games have become one of the biggest forms of entertainment. 

A 2015 study by Western Michigan University and the Kercher Center for Social Research found that violent video games have little to no effect on children compared to other variables like parental interaction. Additionally, York University conducted a similar study this January, and like all the others, found no such evidence of video games making people violent. If anything, these studies state that the only effect games have on us is pissing us off when they are difficult.

This is not what the country should be focusing on. It's merely a diversion to pull away from the real issue: gun control. The US needs to refocus on gun control and find solutions to stop events like the Parkland shooting, otherwise this is going to happen again until these tragic events are going to feel normal.

Right now, there are two sides to this debate. One side that wants stricter gun control, and the other side that believes in arming everyone. Clearly, this debate has a lot of gray to it.

One side of the argument states that the US needs to make it harder for people to obtain guns to stop most of the violence. Politicians should take some inspiration from countries like Japan, which has an immense amount of laws citizens need to follow to purchase a gun, and more laws pertaining to handling a gun. As a result, the amount of gun deaths in Japan rarely goes above 10. To put that in perspective, 17 students died in the Parkland shooting alone. 

Let's compare another country, like Australia. After a mass shooting in 1996 resulted in 35 people dead and 23 injured, the Australian government decided to buckle down on gun control, making similar laws to Japan concerning to obtaining one and owning one. They even went as far as to ban rifles and shotguns, creating a mandatory buyback program to take these guns off the hands of gun owners who possessed them prior to the ban.

It worked. Gun-related homicides went down by a significant margin, up to a 50% drop, and gun-related suicides by 74%. This action saved lives, and if the U.S. at least made the attempt to try and emulate these laws, we'd see similar numbers. Maybe not immediately, but in the long run, we'd start seeing less mass shootings.

The other side of the argument are the people who believe in arming as many people as possible and protecting their rights as gun owners. Granted, people are defensive about gun control, since the right to own a gun is in the American Constitution, but those on this side need to think about the people who don't own guns and feel unsafe surrounded by them.

These two sides are not going to come to a solution by constantly blaming each other and acting as if the other side can't understand. There needs to be new sets of rules restricting what to sell and who to sell to, or the US could just keep seeing stories of people shooting each other and barking at each other while innocent Americans die.