Gun Control Laws and Video Games, Researchers Find the Link

USA has been struggling with the problem of gun control for quite some time now and even as gun violence continues to increase in the country, there hasn’t really been any concrete solution about that especially in terms of passing some gun control laws.

A new research suggests that this inability to take action against gun violence and successfully passing a gun control law might have something to do with video games.

According to researchers from University of Arizona and University of Connecticut, college students who spend more time playing violent games, especially first person shooters, are more prone to oppose any type of gun control measure the government tries to implement in the country as compared to their peers who spend less time playing such games.

Since first person games put the players directly in the shoes of the game’s character, the research suggests that the players adopt this mentality that real life is like a videogame as well.

If a gun can keep them safe in a game, it is essential to safety in the real world and everyone must carry a weapon with them in case of any emergency.

The study conducted by the researchers, Matthew Lapierre of UoA and Kirstie Farrar of UoC, included 779 students from both universities. More than half the students in the study said that they had used gun controllers to play games that replicate a firearm.

The students who spent more time playing violent games were in favor of stances such as “Armed citizens are the best defense against criminals” thereby suggesting somewhat of an anarchical society would be better instead of having the chosen few law enforcement personnel try to keep everyone safe.

Lapierre and Farrar wrote in the journal, Psychology of Popular Media Culture:

Frequent exposure to certain gun-based video games, and their repetitive positive portrayals of guns — particularly first-person shooter games using gun controllers — may teach players that easier access to guns is beneficial, in turn, these players may become less supportive of gun-control policies

While the study doesn’t outright blame video games for the cause of this thinking in the younger generation, it is not the first time that violence in real life has been attributed to players learning those things from video games.

Rockstar’s highly popular Grand Theft Auto franchise is one prime example of this as many similar studies in the past have tried to put the blame on its creators and the game itself for influencing the younger generation towards a life of crime, drugs and violence because of similar themes in the game.

Even EA’s Battlefield franchise isn’t immune from this blame game as it has been part of controversy too by supposedly simulating a war-like experience for gamers and influencing them to enlist for actual armed forces and thus being responsible of warmongering.