The Entertainment Merchants Association is asking Vice President Joe Biden not to kick off another examination of links between violent media and children without first considering what's already been done, as he works to address the problems of gun violence in America.
Following the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last month, President Barack Obama put Biden in charge of a new, inter-agency gun control task force. Obama set a January deadline for concrete proposals for ways to address gun violence.
In a letter sent to Biden this week, the EMA walked Biden through some of the many studies of the impact of violent entertainment on minors, noting that since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting the Federal Trade Commission alone has conducted seven studies on the topic. None of which found any link. The letter also notes that neither the report by the U.S. Secret Service on preventing school attacks, nor the FBI's school shooter offender profile listed video gaming or media consumption as a sign or factor in school shootings.
"In light of these and other reports," wrote Mark Fisher, interim president of the EMA, "we would recommend that, prior to recommending another review of this topic, the federal government take stock of its existing studies and determine what new knowledge could be generated."
"Blaming movies and video games is an attempt to distract the attention of the public and the media from meaningful action that will keep our children safer."
The EMA also offered to meet with Biden's staff to share more information and warned that connecting media consumption to school shootings can be dangerously distracting.
"EMA was sad — but not surprised — to see some blame gun massacres like the Newtown shooting on video games, motion pictures, and other forms of entertainment that contain depictions of violence. Make no mistake: blaming movies and video games is an attempt to distract the attention of the public and the media from meaningful action that will keep our children safer."
Since the shooting, the National Rifle Association denounced the entertainment industry, calling it a "callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people." A town in Connecticut is planning to host a violent video game turn-in program this weekend, ultimately destroying the games turned in by concerned parents. A leading media violence expert warns that the event could do more harm than good and suggested parents should be more involved with their child's gaming habits.
Read the full EMA letter.