Jessica: Sixteen-year-old Ben Cermak and his thirteen-year-old-brother, Nate, like to play the war game Call of Duty.
Ben: Even though it is violent, I don’t think this is going to make me violent.
Jessica: It is up for debate if violent video games and violent behavior are linked. Some studies say there is a connection, others say there is not.
But last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has people asking what is contributing to America’s culture of violence? The head of the National Rifle Association, a group which supports gun rights, is targeting video games.
Wayne LaPierre: They play murder, portray murder as a way of life, and then they all have the nerve to call it entertainment.
Jessica: Vice President Joe Biden recently sat down with video game manufacturers, as well as several other groups, to come up with recommendations on gun control. Yesterday, he met with President Obama to talk over a wide range of proposals expected to be released today.
Vice President Biden: There is no silver bullet. There is no – as one of my friends said – no seat belt that you can put on to assure that you will not be in this circumstance again.
Jessica: The video game industry responded to a government crackdown twenty years ago by creating ratings similar to those for movies. Violent games are rated M, which the industry considers suitable for ages 17 and up.
Critics say that is not enough. They want the government to order violent games to carry warnings like those on cigarettes.
Putting legal restrictions on violent video games may be difficult for the Obama administration because of a 2011 decision by the Supreme Court. The court said video games are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. So, change may have to start with video game players, like Max Goldstein.
Last month, the Newtown, Connecticut seventh grader started a group called Played Out. It encourages young people to throw away their first-person shooter games.
Max Goldstein: It was a little inappropriate and rude to the families who lost children to play these games.
Jessica: Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.