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Obama calls for CDC research on link between gun and gaming violence in new plan

Obama calls for CDC research on link between gun and gaming violence in new plan

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President Barack Obama is asking the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the possibility of a link between violent media and shootings as part of a blanket proposal to prevent future gun violence. In a memorandum, the White House urged the CDC to "conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between video games, media images, and violence." Bearing out Vice President Joe Biden's previous statement, this proposal takes up a small part of the document, and most of the memorandum deals with improving awareness and treatment of mental health issues, developing technology that can help prevent "unauthorized use" of guns, promoting gun safety, and reinstating both the expired ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

In his meeting with the games industry last week, Biden raised the question of whether a "coarsening of our culture," apparently through depictions of violence, could be contributing to gun violence, and a US Senator has asked for the National Academy of Sciences to investigate gaming violence. Obama's language, however, has been measured, treating games as one of many bases to be covered — which, though still problematic, is a far cry from the heated attacks we've seen in past political fights over games.

CDC research on gun violence will likely be controversial even without the gaming link

The CDC research, meanwhile, will likely be controversial for entirely unrelated reasons. In the 1990s, Congress stipulated that CDC money couldn't be used on research that would "promote gun control," something that's been used to argue against any gun-related studies. Obama has called for an end on the freeze of "critical public health research" in the area, something that's unlikely to sit well with firearm rights advocates.