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NJ governor joins violent game debate

Chris Christie insists Newtown response looks at games, mental health, and substance abuse as well as gun control

The violent video game issue is getting some traction in American politics after the Newtown school shooting. In an appearance on NBC's Today Show this morning, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told host Matt Lauer that he might be open to legislation increasing gun control, but only in tandem with other issues.

"All you're focusing on right now is gun control," Christie said. "What about the violence in our video games? You and I both have children. We don't allow those games into our house. We've made that decision because we think it desensitizes our children to the real effects of violence."

Christie also brought up substance abuse and mental health issues as factors that lead to violence and should be addressed along with violent games and access to guns.

While the Republican Party at large has struggled of late, Governor Christie's political profile has been on the rise. In the run up to the 2012 election, Christie had to repeatedly turn down calls to enter the presidential race. This week he is featured on the cover of Time for his handling of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath and castigation of Republicans stalling relief efforts in Congress. When asked about the possibility of him assuming a greater leadership role in the Republican Party, Christie downplayed the idea, saying his job was to be governor of New Jersey.

"The only reason why you get this attention is if you're doing your job well and you're being an advocate for the people that elected you and that's all this is about," he said. "It's not about me trying to take control of anything other than take care of the people who elected me."

Christie is just the latest to raise concern over violent games following December's mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school. Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill to have government agencies research the effect violent games have on kids, while executive VP of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said gory games were more concerning than guns, referring to them as "the filthiest form of pornography." Such concerns are being reflected in places like Southington, CT, where residents are having a collection drive to gather and destroy violent games and movies.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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