Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in Video Games Do

September 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

On August 14, Connecticut Speaker of the House J. Brendan Sharkey wrote a letter to executives at Valve Software, Take-Two, the Entertainment Software Association, and Activision Blizzard asking them to stop licensing real guns from gun manufactures for popular first-person shooter franchises such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.

While it took a long time, Andrew Eisen has finally created a video response to the State lawmaker's request entitled "Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in Video Games Do."

You can check it out to your left, and if you'd like to refresh your memory on exactly what Sharkey said, you can read the letter here (PDF).


Comments

Re: Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in ...

What nonsense. I don't know if this guy is actually a gun nut or if he's just accidentally appropriated their rhetoric but obviously comparing depictions of guns to depictions of cars or junk food is absurd even if the latter ones can in some circumstances be harmful.

Look, it's fine to disagree with Sharkey's point. I at least disagree with parts of it. Those inclined to acquire assault weapons will probably find out about them regardless of whether they're shown in games. But holy crap people. I hardly think it's so patently ridiculous as to demand the same furious response from gamers. And the vast majority of what he said is pretty valid. Why on earth game companies would choose to continue to be involved with the very people who routinely turn around and make games a scapegoat in order to take the heat off their own product (guns) is utterly beyond me. And he explicitly acknowledges that A) games are protected under the 1st amendment and B) that there is no link between violence in games and violence in real life. How often does that happen?

This kind of smug, dismissive mockery in response to even largely reasonable opinions absolutely kills healthy debate. So save it for the idiots like FOX news who actually are trying to shift the blame from guns to video games.

Re: Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in ...

"I don't know if this guy is actually a gun nut..."

What, me?  Where would you even get that idea?  No, I'm not a gun nut, I just think it's beyond stupid to suggest that what guns in video games are called is any precipitator of real world gun violence.

"Why on earth game companies would choose to continue to be involved with the very people who routinely turn around and make games a scapegoat in order to take the heat off their own product (guns) is utterly beyond me."

That's a great point (one that EA's already taken action on) and had that been Sharkey's point, I would not have made this video.  But he very clearly says that real guns in games "blur the lines between fiction and reality in ways that can have tragic consequences" and then uses Sandy Hook as an example by forcing a connection to Call of Duty that isn't supported by any credible evidence.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in ...

"What, me?  Where would you even get that idea?"

This whole "But lots of people are killed by cars too. So if you're going to say we should do [x] with guns we should do the same with cars" shtick is classic gun nut rhetoric. Although as I said, maybe you just accidentally ended up incorporating it. Should tell you how silly your point is though. Clearly suggesting that video games shouldn't feature real guns is not analogous to saying they shouldn't feature real cars.

"But he very clearly says that real guns in games 'blur the lines between fiction and reality in ways that can have tragic consequences'"

And I agree with you. I don't think that's true. But at the same time I hardly think it is so utterly absurd as to demand this kind of response. It's not unreasonable to at least discuss the way actual guns are marketed through video games. Even if I disagree with one of his conclusions, for once a politician seems to be approaching this from a relatively reasonable, open minded perspective. So maybe in response we should try to say something intelligent that actually addresses where we think he is mistaken instead of just trying to be smartasses. That's not unreasonable is it?

Re: Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in ...

"Clearly suggesting that video games shouldn't feature real guns is not analogous to saying they shouldn't feature real cars."

For the reason he gave?  Yes it is.  But if that's all he said, I'd have shrugged and gone about my day.  But what he's suggesting is that featuring real guns in video games leads to real world gun violence and that's just as stupid as saying featuring real cars in video games leads to real car wrecks.

"So maybe in response we should try to say something intelligent that actually addresses where we think he is mistaken instead of just trying to be smartasses."

Which is exactly what I did.  While being a smartass.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Andrew Eisen: Guns Don't Kill People, Licensed Guns in ...

I want to agree with you, but the letter is built on a false premise. if he had stopped at the first  paragraph about how there are multiple studies done refuting the link it would have been perfect. However he tries to make a connection that doesn't exist between Games and Violence even though he explicitly said otherwise in his opening statements.  

The whole letter is doublespeak, either the games including all content affect people, or they don't.  You can't just say, well studies show that games aren't affecting people in violent ways, but they do affect them when their's marketing...  No.  that's not what studies have shown.  And if you want to just throw out a link like this you better back it up. He doesn't though.

In addition, who actually purchased the weapon that was used? Was it Adam? Was it purchased specifically because of the marketing done in the video game?  Even if it was, does this show causation or merely correlation?  If I remember correctly, the guns were illegally obtained by Adam (stolen from his mother), who was the one who had purchased them to begin with.

I know Bushmaster, not because I've seen ads for it, but because I've had friends purchase one, and I've shot it.  It's a good firearm.  I'd be inclined to purchase one just for these reasons.

On top of all this, I don't think I've EVER been able to tell what brand a specific AR-15 was in any FPS.  There's just so many to choose from. Furthermore, the majority of the weapons available in military style shooters are not even available to Civilians, or have an extremely high cost associated with obtaining them, including background checks.

 
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