Dec 29, 2012 11:57 PM by Tony Spehar -

Lawmakers discussing role of violent video games in mass shootings

As the debate continues about what to do to prevent mass shootings like the elementary school shooting in Connecticut or the theater shooting in Aurora many are taking a look at the effect of violent video games.

Rik Parks is one of the owners of the Video Game Exchange store in Colorado Springs. Having been in the game business for nine-years he's no stranger to seeing blame put on violent games for inspiring horrific tragedies.

"There are completely well-adjusted adults, kids and everything else that play video games day in and day out, people like myself, that aren't going out and committing felonies," Parks said.

In a press conference days after the school shooting in Connecticut Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, claimed violence in video games played a bigger role in the massacre than guns.

"There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people," LaPierre described. "Through vicious, violent video games."

President Obama has also criticized violence in the media and lawmakers in several states have called on the federal government to take action against violent games. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill that would direct the government to conduct a study on the effect of violent games on children. Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado's 5th Congressional District said he's unsure what the government should do about the issue.

"I'm not sure what would be called for or what could make the situation better," Lamborn explained. "But I'm willing to look at things."

At the Video Game Exchange Rik Parks said he's not certain whether video games can inspire violence. Similar to what's been said in the debate over gun control, he said a person's mental health should be considered.

"People that can't determine fantasy from reality, those are the people that need to stay away from the video games," he explained.

However Parks doesn't believe the government should take action against games, saying that when it comes to children it's the responsibility of parents to consider the effect of violent games.

The bill in the Senate to study the impact of violent games is in its very early stages and might not be discussed for some time. If passed, it would require a study of the effect of games on kids to be finished within 18-months.



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