CT State House Speaker Urges Video Game Industry To Stop
Promoting Guns Like One Used In Newtown Massacre
Connecticut’s State House Speaker urged video game industry leaders to stop using their products to promote military grade firearms, saying they were recklessly blurring the line between fiction and reality and endangering people’s lives.
In a letter sent to three company chief executives and the Entertainment Software Association, Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said the video game industry needed to end all licensing and product placement agreements with arms manufacturers. Such deals, he said, were “nefarious” and may have contributed to last December’s massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown.
“Games designed to recreate the experience of wartime carnage and criminal violence constitute protected speech under the provisions of the First Amendment,” Sharkey wrote. “But there is little to be said in defense of an industry-wide practice of arranging licensing deals with gun manufacturers for the rights to use the make, model and visual design specifications of their real-life weapons.”
Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, was an avid player of Activision’s game Call of Duty and used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle featured in the game.
Sharkey has since played a leading role in pushing gun safety legislation through the Connecticut legislature.
“The industry practice of video game publishers entering into licensing, marketing or other financial arrangements to feature real guns in their games,” he added, “blurs the lines between fiction and reality in ways that can have tragic consequences.”
A report published in June by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and The Gun Truth Project detailed how deals between video game companies and weapons manufacturers often lead to promotional campaigns enticing players to purchase weapons featured in the games they have just played.
Sharkey echoed the report’s call to end such deals. He noted that Electronic Arts, one of the biggest companies in the field, has already done so as a matter of company policy and he urged EA’s competitors to follow suit.
His letter was applauded by Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action. “We are outraged that video game companies and gun manufacturers are entering into deals to market guns to our children, particularly given the real-life epidemic of gun violence in America,” Watts said.
About Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (www.momsdemandaction.org) was created to build support for common-sense gun legislation. The nonpartisan grassroots movement of American mothers is demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families. In just six months, the organization has more than 100,000 members with more than 90 local chapters in 40 states across the country.
Every Child Matters Education Fund was established in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization to make public investments in children, youth, and families a national political priority. http://www.everychildmatters.org
The Gun Truth Project is a working group and rapid response team leading efforts to expose, isolate, and fracture the gun lobby. http://www.guntruthproject.org
Contact Brendan Sharkey
Legislative Office Building, Room 4100
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
1-800-842-1902 | (860) 240-8500
600 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518