ESA on mass shootings: Keep discussion focused on victims and facts

Entertainment Software Association points to research showing no link between video games and violence.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON: The Entertainment Software Association wants the national spotlight to stay on the victims of mass shootings and the facts, according to Andrew Bowins, the association’s SVP of communications and industry affairs.

President Donald Trump recently blamed the gun violence epidemic partly on "gruesome and grisly video games" following shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend, leaving 22 dead and 10 dead, respectively. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also said violent games play a role in gun violence.

As the video game industry’s top trade association, the ESA responded with a brief statement to media that said, "More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S."

"We are not capitalizing on these tragedies and are not sending out any information proactively," Bowins said in a statement to PRWeek. "Should we receive requests, we are educating producers and reporters about who plays video games and the objective research, which states there is no link between video games and violence."

Trump and McCarthy’s statements spawned a host of memes poking fun at the notion that video games fuel gun violence. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame has also been trending on Twitter.

Numerous publications, such as The New York Times, have debunked the link between video games and gun violence, saying the idea doesn’t "hold up to scrutiny," despite persisting in the public conscience since the Columbine Shooting in 1999.

Last week, Walmart decided to remove signage, advertisements and demos for some violent videogames, according to The Verge. The El Paso shooting took place at one of the retailer’s locations in the city.

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