Virtual violence to be studied under Obama's gun plan - FOX 35 News Orlando

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Virtual violence to be studied under Obama's gun plan

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  • 33 things to know about White House gun violence plan

    33 things to know about White House gun violence plan

    Wednesday, January 16 2013 2:06 PM EST2013-01-16 19:06:04 GMT
    President Obama introduced a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals Wednesday aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States.
    President Obama introduced a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals Wednesday aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. The plan calls on Congress to pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than ten bullets, as well as universal background checks for gun ownership.

Though his stance on assault weapons has certainly stolen the spotlight in many headlines, President Barack Obama's plan to address gun violence also seeks to shed light on the impact of virtual violence too.

Obama is asking Congress to spend $10 million so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can study the causes of gun violence, including whether there is a link between violent video games and gun violence.

"We don't benefit from ignorance," Obama said.

Yet, gamers who spoke with FOX 9 News say spending that money would ultimately be wasteful -- and many in the industry are critical of the president's plan.

"The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said just days after the Sandy Hook shooting.

When calls for increased gun control began to emerge -- including a ban on assault-style weapons, the head of the nation's largest gun lobby laid much of the blame on violent video games.

"Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?" he asked.

LaPierre leveled several unflattering adjectives at the video game industry in his assertion that virtual violence could be affecting American culture.

"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells -- and sows -- violence against its own people," he said.

Yet, just weeks after the school shooting in Connecticut, the NRA released its own video game called "NRA: Practice Range."

Across the years, video games that depict violence have been a part of the discussion following mass shootings -- and the Entertainment Software Association met with Vice President Joe Biden last week. On Tuesday, the Video Game Trade Group announced it would "embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence."

Tommy Toohey, who owns High Score Video Games, says many of his best-sellers are the first-person shooter games which bear the brunt of the criticism.

"They are getting pretty realistic," Toohey admits. "'Call of Duty,' 'Black Ops 2,' the new 'Halo 4,' they're getting insane. It looks like real life a lot of the time. That's true."

However, Eden Prairie-based game developer Peter Tamte says spending $10 million would be a waste of taxpayer money since the issue has already been scrutinized by many federal agencies.

"Unfortunately, it's easy to blame the video game industry because we make games a lot of teenage boys use to express their interest in playing with guns," he said. "There's just not any link between somebody playing a game like 'Call of Duty' and somebody committing a violent act."

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