Obama Calls on CDC to Probe Media, Video Game Violence in Gun Control Package

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In a major address on gun violence Wednesday morning, President Obama called for research that would explore the impact of violence in the media.

Appearing with children who wrote him letters in the wake of the mass school shooting Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., Obama announced 23 executive actions that he would take to immediately curb violence and weapons from getting into the wrong hands. Additionally, he called on Congress to take several steps, including passing an assault weapons ban and sending $10 million to the Centers for Disease Control to investigate "the relationship between video games, media images, and violence."

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"We don’t benefit from ignorance," he said in his address. "We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."

Vice President Joe Biden, who headed the White House task force that put together the large proposal, met with MPAA chief Chris Dodd and other representatives from Hollywood last week. Dodd later rejected mandatory curbs on violence in film but signaled a willingness to help increase education.

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"The entertainment community appreciates being included in the dialogue around the administration’s efforts to confront the complex challenge of gun violence in America," Dodd, Biden's former Senate colleague, said in a statement. "This industry has a long-standing 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."

Violence was a theme at last week's Television Critics Association Press Tour. FX president and GM John Langraf said that semi-automatic weapons, not violence on television, were to blame for gun violence.

“You certainly can’t create that kind of mayhem if you have to reload," he said. "We should look at ourselves. But we should also look at [gun laws] which allow a crazy person to create an untold amount of mayhem."

Below is the pertinent selection from Obama's proposal:

For years, Congress has subjected the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to restrictions ensuring it does not “advocate or promote gun control,” and some members of Congress have claimed this restriction prohibits the CDC from conducting any research on the causes of gun violence. However, public health research on gun violence is not advocacy. The President is directing the CDC and other research agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence, and the CDC is announcing that they will begin this research. The Administration is calling on Congress to provide $10 million for the CDC to conduct further research, including investigating the relationship between video games, media images, and violence.

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