The Vermont House of Representatives has passed a resolution (H.R.23), which calls on Governor Phil Scott to study the connection “between excessive video game playing and the propensity to engage in gun violence,” reports VT Digger.
Rep. Douglas Gage, (R-Rutland City) wrote the resolution, which passed in the house by a wide margin: 107-12. The resolution asks the Governor to commit funds to study the connection and to propose limits on sales to underage buyers next year.
The resolution comes after the Governor passed a set of restrictions on gun purchases, and states that some video games portray violence and cites research that there’s a connection between gaming and gun violence.
Resolutions aren’t laws: they’re a motion that essentially is just a statement: The house passed resolutions “congratulating the 2018 Mount St. Joseph Academy Mounties on winning a fourth consecutive Division IV girls’ basketball championship,” “recognizing the centrality of small business in the growth and prosperity of the Vermont economy,” “commemorating the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act and designating April 2018 as Fair Housing Month in Vermont,” and which designated this past Tuesday as “Equal Pay Day.” According to VT Digger, Scott will be establishing a “Violence Reduction Task Force”, and if they deem it appropriate, they’ll look into it.
But this type of resolution is worrisome, because it really isn’t true, and video games are often the target of reactionary legislation or blame following mass shooting events like what happened in Parkland, Florida. The Columbine school shooting was blamed on Doom, and following the recent shooting in Florida, President Trump gathered together video game developers to castigate them for the content of their products. But while there are studies that claim to find a link, they don’t prove that this is the case — it’s even been brought to the Supreme Court.
It’s frustrating to see this pop up, and for the resolution’s author to say that the evidence that there’s a connection is “overwhelming,” where it really isn’t.