Republican politicians say videogames partly to blame for mass shootings

(Image credit: Photo by Elena Schneider/ Medill News Service. Photo resized, license link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Party House minority leader, has said that videogames are partly to blame for mass shootings in the US, following the deaths of 29 people in two shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

A lone gunman killed 20 people and injured 26 more in a shopping center in El Paso yesterday in an incident that officials are treating as "domestic terrorism". Police have apprehended a 21-year-old white male suspect. 13 hours later, a second gunman opened fire in downtown Dayton, killing nine people and injuring at least 27. Law enforcement officers killed the shooter, identified as Connor Betts, 24.

In an interview with Fox News in the wake of the shootings, McCarthy said videogames that involve shooting "dehumanize individuals".

"I've always felt that is a problem for future generations and others. We watch from studies shown before of what it does to individuals," he said, without referencing any specific studies. "When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within videogames." The full clip is below.

His comments echoed those of Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting. Speaking to Fox News, Patrick claimed that the videogame industry "teaches young people to kill".

"How long are we going to let, for example, and ignore at the federal level particularly, where they can do something about the videogame industry," Patrick said, before referencing an online manifesto uploaded minutes before the shooting. "In this manifesto, that we believe is from the shooter, he talks about living out his super soldier fantasy on Call of Duty," he said.

He acknowledged that "there have been studies that say [videogames] impact people, and studies that say it does not", but added: "I look at the common denominators, as a 60-something father and grandfather myself, what's changed in this country? We've always had guns, we've always had evil, but what's changed when we see this rash of shooting? And I see a videogame industry that teaches young people to kill.

"We have to take a long look at who we are as a nation, where we want to go, and what we're going to tolerate from social media and from videogames," he added. You can watch the clip below.