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EMA speaks up on Newtown shooting

Retail trade group tells VP Biden violent media not the cause of school shootings

Last month's Newtown school shooting has renewed concerns over violent games in the US, and the Entertainment Merchants Association today weighed in on the subject.

In a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, the EMA offered its input on policy recommendations he has been forming in response to the Newtown tragedy. Days after the shooting, President Obama tasked Biden with leading up a team "to pull together real reforms right now."

"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," EMA interim president Mark Fisher said in a statement. "Make no mistake: blaming movies and video games is an attempt to distract the attention of the public from meaningful action that will keep our children safer."

In his letter, Fisher pointed to scientific research and the industry's judicially confirmed First Amendment rights as reasons to forego attempts at legislating violent media sales. As for what that meaningful action would keep children safer, Fisher offered no alternatives. He did address one other proposal made in the wake of the shooting, that of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who introduced a bill calling for multiple government agencies to assess the effects violent games have on children.

"While not expressing a view on the current proposals, we note that EMA has not objected to such proposals in the past as we believe in the benefits of the accretion of knowledge and we are confident that additional studies will reach the same conclusions as the multitude of previous studies--that depictions of violence have a de minimis impact on real-world violence," Fisher said.

Biden is expected to make his recommendations later this month. President Obama has also directed Congress to hold votes on the measures this year.