Our Problem Isn't Video Games; It's Guns

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By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

As those who would stop any attempt to pass laws that could perhaps stop the next mass shooting in America, they are faced with an opposition that is well-financed, holds their clout over lawmakers more interested in re-election than children’s lives, and one with a massive propaganda machine.

First, for our readers, let’s establish the fact that we are not against all guns. We grew up hunting. We enjoy shooting a rifle for target practice. We just don’t believe that the 2nd Amendment and the Founding Fathers who wrote it contemplated assault rifles with high capacity magazines.

They envisioned fighting against a foe from overseas or on the frontier as the country expanded west. They saw the need for citizens to be ready to bring their guns with them to military duty should the need arise. Those weapons would be on par with the weapons that combatants from an opposing force would carry, or perhaps, superior.

That, of course, is not the case today. A soldier is not going to compete with a Predator drone armed with Hellfire rockets that can fire from a distance and height beyond his reach, and perhaps, beyond his sight. He is not going to compete with an Apache Guardian helicopter or an M1 Abrams tank.

We’ve already established in this country, and accepted, that citizens don’t have a right to any weapon manufactured for military use. You can’t own a hand grenade, you can’t own a machine gun, and you can’t own a rocket launcher.  So, the need to be armed with an assault-style rifle for purposes of bringing it to duty should you be called, is absurd. The military will outfit you with the latest and greatest of its weapons.

Now on to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its supporters in Congress and in the Minnesota Legislature who block all attempts at reasonable gun laws despite the slaughter of children and adults taking place in America with increasing frequency.

Just 48 hours after 14 children and three faculty members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were murdered Feb. 14 with an AR-15 assault-style rifle the disinformation and deflection machine was at work.

It is not guns that are responsible for the slaughter of innocents at schools, music concerts, and shopping malls, it is young people who have been twisted by the violent video games they play, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin asserted. Just over a week later, President Trump had picked up on the theme saying he was “hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”

Trump, who for a moment gave us hope of tougher gun laws, folded after a meeting with the NRA.

For many adults who don’t play the games, but have seen how violent they are with people being shot, blood spurting everywhere, or blown up, the assertion seems reasonable. Spending hours and days on end playing the game must have a negative effect; it simply must. Despite what we assume to be an obvious truth and conclusion, we would be wrong.

Study after study has shown no link between the video games kids play and acting out in violent ways with guns. The following statistics make it even clearer that there isn’t a link. Kids in other countries spend more on video games without running off to a school to kill a bunch of fellow students.

Video Game Spending & Gun Homicides
Per 100,000 People

Country    Spending    Homicides

Japan               $120                 0
Korea                 $79            0.02
America             $74            3.43
UK                     $62            0.06
Australia            $55            0.16
Canada             $54            0.38
Germany           $50            0.07
France              $46             0.21
Ireland              $46             0.25

America’s problem isn’t that it has too many kids playing violent video games; it is that it has too many guns, especially of a kind that can kill dozens of people in minutes. The U.S. has 4.4 percent of the world’s population. However, 42 percent of the guns owned in the world by citizens are right here. It’s not surprising that we have more than 33,000 people die every year from gun violence, accidents, or suicides.

In both the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Congress reasonable gun laws, such as eliminating bump stocks that turn a semi-automatic into a machine gun, banning high capacity magazines, renewing the 1994 assault rifle ban, universal background checks, and letting a family member inform law enforcement of a mentally unstable relative so it can decide if the person needs to have his guns take away for awhile, are getting nowhere.

Now we read a headline that says that few of those convicted of domestic assault in Minnesota have had their guns taken away. “Records show that the state had nearly 3,000 Order for Protection cases in 2016 and only 119 had a firearm transfer affidavit filed in court. The court system didn’t release data on how many of these cases involved abusers with firearms,” the Associated Press reports. The law must be enforced.

It’s time for Minnesota and America to implement common sense gun laws – they won’t infringe on your 2nd Amendment rights as our founders envisioned them.

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