Obama Calls for Research Into Impact of Violent Videogames - No Mention Of Movies or TV
President Barack Obama wants the federal government to fund research to look at the impact of violent videogames on users.
At a press conference Wednesday detailing his proposals for tighter gun laws, the president said that the scientific community needs to discover if there is a link between gory entertainment and the recent spate of mass-shootings.
While he called out violent videogames, he did not make any specific mention of violence in the movies or on TV in his remarks.
"We donít benefit from ignorance," Obama said. "We donít benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."
The president has been pushing for more restrictions on gun ownership in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month that left 26 people dead including 20 children.
Obama said that he is instructing the Center for Disease Control to study the roots of violent behavior, and is asking Congress for $10 million to fund the research. That research will include investigating the relationship between videogames, media images, and violence, according to an executive order the president issued Wednesday.
The film industry must be relieved not to have been singled out in Obama's remarks, but if the president or Congress decides to target the entertainment business, the White House will have a fight on its hands. Hollywood executives and Motion Picture Association of American Chairman Chris Dodd have said they will hit back on any efforts to restrict violence in movies.
Members of the movie and television industry briefed Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the president's task-force on gun violence at the White House last week about content ratings systems, which give parents tools to regulate what kind of TV programming and movies their children watch.
Dodd, the National Association of Broadcaster's CEO Gordon Smith and National Cable Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell were among the industry figures present.
Following the president's address, the three associations and the Independent Film & Television Alliance released a statement of support for further research into the causes of gun violence.
"We support the Presidentís goal of reducing gun violence in this country," the statement reads. "It is a complex problem, and as we have said, we stand ready to be part of the conversation and welcome further academic examination and consideration on these issues as the President has proposed."
In his remarks Wednesday, Obama called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun buyers.
"When it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now, Obama said.
In addition to the killings in Newtown, Obama also cited the shootings at an Aurora, Colo., screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" last July that left 12 people dead as evidence that there need to be more limits on what types of guns can be purchased by civilians.
"Weapons designed for war have no place in a movie theater," Obama said.
The National Rifle Association has already begun a television campaign against Obama's proposals, but the lobbying group may be more sympathetic to research into media companies' role in inciting violence.
At a press conference last month on the Newtown massacre, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said the blame for these killings rested on "blood-soaked" films like "American Psycho" and violent games like "Grand Theft Auto."
"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people," LaPierre said.
"Isnít fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?" he asked later.