WASHINGTON – Comic fans at Awesome Con dismissed the idea that violent content in Hollywood and in video games is connected to gun violence in the U.S. and called for more gun control to prevent shootings.
Samuel from Prince George’s County, Md., argued that watching gun violence in films does not influence people to carry out violent acts with firearms.
“No, I don’t think so because animation has been going on for years,” he said during the recent Awesome Con, Washington D.C.’s Comic-Con.
When asked for his opinion on gun control, Samuel said the Second Amendment should be repealed.
“They should get rid of that amendment because back in the day they were carrying around wooden sticks. Now it’s machine guns. Guns have changed, so should the laws, you know, that’s how I feel about it,” he said.
“They should throw it out. They should just throw it out because times have changed. People aren’t walking around with silver wigs anymore, you know, walking around with broomsticks. It’s a different era,” he added.
Cassie from Charlottesville, Va., agreed with Samuel in regard to the influence of violence in Hollywood and video games, adding that violent incidents are the fault of the perpetrator and should not be blamed on the entertainment industry.
“When you have guns and comics and stuff it’s not real,” she said. “It’s all fantasy – that’s part of the excitement and stuff. If you take from a comic, ‘oh, I should use guns,’ then it’s a problem with the person, not overall. I don’t think it’s an influence overall.”
Cassie’s friend Emma shared the same opinion. “I definitely agree. It’s more the person than the gun. If you can’t get a gun, then you can’t use it. It’s just the person who wants to use the gun.”
Both Cassie and Emma said the federal government should create stricter gun laws.
“Absolutely. I’m a high school student so it’s definitely very close to home, all the school shootings and stuff. We both participated in the National School Walkout a while ago,” Cassie said.
“Guns should just have more limitations on them,” Emma added.
Matthew from Ashburn, Va., said existing laws should be better enforced before new laws are created.
“I think the laws on the books need to be enforced – that are currently there – first and then we can go for more. Personally, I am happy with where it’s at. We just need to take what’s there and enforce it, and in some cases we aren’t,” he said.
He agreed with others who said the violence in movies and video games based on comics is not linked to real-life violence.
“There’s some violence but a lot of it is toned-down violence in movies. There is a few rated Rs like ‘Deadpool’ and some cases, but most of it is kept down. I don’t think there is a link, personally,” Matthew said.
Members of the live art improvisation group Super Art Fight spoke with PJM at Awesome Con about gun control and violence in the entertainment industry. They disagreed with those who suggest that violent content in films and video games influences people to harm others.
“If you let comic books and movies influence your choice to purchase and use a firearm, especially in an irresponsible manner, it was just the thing that ended up doing it. It was going to be something else because you’re impressionable and you wanted to do it in the first place. You’re just looking for an excuse,” said Brandon.
“Violence has existed before video games and stuff, no,” said James.
“It’s an example of where correlation is not causation. You have something that’s nerdy, it tends to get the misfits of the world and the misfits of the world don’t always have the best of intentions. I don’t think the two are really that interrelated,” Marty said.
Marty compared the gun-control debate to parents disciplining children.
“It’s a scenario where we keep screwing up, and I know when I was kid when I would screw up a lot things would be taken away,” he said. “So we haven’t really demonstrated as a populace we are doing too great with the whole gun thing. So I don’t know if totally banning is the idea, but restrictions definitely need to be in play.”
Brandon agreed. “They don’t just let you build and run around with bombs because they’re too dangerous. We should be smart enough to draw a line somewhere, wherever that is,” he said.