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ECA urges Vice President to not blame games for violence, support public's right to access them

In a letter posted to the organization's website, Entertainment Consumers Association vice president Jennifer Mercurio urged U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to support the constitutional right of the public to purchase and access video games and to refrain from blaming media for the Sandy Hook shooting.

The ECA is a non-profit organization representing interactive entertainment consumers in the U.S. and Canada, and was formed to "give gamers a collective voice with which to communicate their concerns, address their issues and focus their advocacy efforts," according to Mercurio.

The group's headquarters are located in Wilton, Conn., about 45 minutes away from where the events in Sandy Hook took place. Mercurio notes that their neighbors and colleagues have been directly affected, and the group has been coping on a personal level as well.

"With the recent tragedy on everyone's minds, some people are looking for a cause and culprit other than the shooter," she wrote. "Unfortunately some are blaming media, including video games, for violent behavior in individuals. We know this isn't the case; banning or regulating media content even more won't solve the issue."

Mercurio cites a study conducted by Texas A&M International University's Christopher J. Ferguson, published in a recent issue of the American Psychologist journal, which says there is no link between playing violent video games and being violent in the real world. She says that according to FBI statistics, media consumption and video game sales have increased while violent crimes have decreased.

"At the same time, federal courts including the Supreme Court have routinely held that government regulation of media, including video games, is unconstitutional," Mercurio wrote. "Funding more studies or passing laws that then get fought out in courts costs taxpayers millions of dollars.

"It is in your power to guide this conversation and not blame entertainment media," she added.

Yesterday Vice President Biden met with Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a group representing the National Rifle Association. NRA officials expressed disappointment at "how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment."

Today the Vice President will meet with group of video game publishers, retail executives and researchers to discuss violence in video games. Included in this group is Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher. President Barack Obama has tasked Biden with crafting definitive proposals on ways to address gun violence by the end of January.

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