Rockefeller Plans to Reintroduce Bill to Study Violent Video Games

Legislation is a high priority for the senator

Other than lots of talk about the "culture of media violence," Washington, for the most part, seems to be focusing on tougher gun laws and not on new laws to restrict violent media and video games.

Despite the obvious First Amendment hurdles, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is not giving up and plans to reintroduce his bill that calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and programming on children. And now that he's announced he will not seek re-election in 2014, the chairman of the Commerce committee has nothing to lose by pursuing an aggressive agenda. Besides, a study that looks at whether or not there is a connection between violent media content and video games doesn't run afoul of free speech.

The bill is the same bill Rockefeller introduced last month, less than one week after the Sandy Hook tragedy shook the nation and reinvigorated the debate in Washington about guns and violence.

Media, movie and video game representatives participated in the rounds of stakeholder talks held by Vice President Joe Biden last week but have been pretty mum about what, if anything, they've been asked to do.

The Entertainment Software Association, which met with Biden on Friday, expressed skepticism that any study would yield definitive proof that violent video games lead to violence.

“We expressed in the meeting that the United States Supreme Court recently affirmed that the independent, scientific research conducted to date has found no causal connection between video games and real-life violence," the ESA said in a statement.

The six organizations representing the entertainment industry met with Biden last week to stress the self-regulatory programs their industries already have in place to help parents monitor their children's media and entertainment.

“The entertainment community appreciates being included in the dialogue around the administration’s efforts to confront the complex challenge of gun violence in America. This industry has a longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families. We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions,” said a statement from the Directors Guild of America, Independent Film and Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Theatre Owners and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

President Obama told reporters today he would review Biden's recommendations and respond back "in the next few days." 

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