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Stupid News: ECA asks gamers to tell senate to NOT support S.134

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In the wake of several recent shootings, including the horrific Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn. last year, politicians in congress have started looking for ways to deal with the issue of gun violence in the US. The problem is, none of them want to deal with the actual issue of guns. Instead, they seem to think it’s much better to spend their time in office, as well as taxpayer dollars, doing a whole new round of research on the link between video game violence and real world violence in adolescents.

One politician who’s drawing ire from video game companies, consumer groups, and  gamers alike, is Democratic Senator Jay Rockafeller of West Virginia. The Senator recently reintroduced a bill of his from a few years ago, S.134, that, if it passes, would require the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of violent video games and other media on children.

The Senator from West Virginia has also called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to look into how children are able to access violent media in this internet age where, in his words, “…technology now allow[s] kids to access violent content online with less parental involvement.”

It’s this continued reliance on archaic and diversionary political tactics that has gotten the Entertainment Consumers Agency, the group that, in conjunction with the Entertainment Software Association, went to bat for the video game industry over Brown vs EMA,  to fire up a brand new campaign to stop S.134 before it can bet put into effect.

For the ECA, the fear is that  ordering new rounds of studies on video game violence that completely and totally ignore previous studies on the matter (which, I might add, show little or no link between video game and real world violence) is just an excuse to start up the video game regulation debate once more. It’s the same debate that the Supreme Court already determined was unconstitutional almost 2 years ago. Their petition to gamers, which you can find on their website, goes on to state that there are a lot of politicians on the hill, though none are mention directly, who believe that the SCOTUS ruling was incorrect and that this is their way to right that wrong.

While such a statement may sound like a scare tactic by the ECA to drum up support against the bill, the idea seems a lot more plausible when juxtaposed with soundbites like those from Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). His assertion that “video games is a bigger issue than guns because video games effect people” is one of many baffling political statements of late made even more baffling by the total and complete lack of anything resembling proof to back up such a statement.

Even voters don’t seem to be immune to making empty claims. In a recent poll of 508 Republican primary voters Nationwide, 67% of those Republicans think video games are a bigger safety threat to America than guns. You can find the results of the poll, released  by Public Policy Polling, here in its entirety.

S.134 is currently being reviewed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and according to govtrack.us has only a 13% chance of getting past committee and a 2% chance of getting enacted. You can read the bill in its entirety at govtrack.us.

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