The Influence of Video Games on Society’s Perception of Firearms

Guns and video games – a dynamic duo spanning multiple decades and causing endless fun for gamers and endless headaches for their parents. 

In all seriousness, video games and firearms have always been an inseparable duo, and, as such, they’ve been shaping the view of each other within our society since the early 90s and the advent of video games such as Wolfenstein and Doom.

Thus, the history of firearms and their perception in our society is also closely tied to another matter – violence in video games. For decades, violence shown in video games has been equated with gun violence in the eyes of those wanting to limit our freedom to enjoy both, without positive proof that those two things are, indeed, equal.

So, what is the bottom line? How have video games influenced our perception of firearms, the violence surrounding firearms, and the gun culture as a whole? Let’s find out!

The Eternal Scapegoat

The culture of guns and firearms in the USA has always had strong roots. Since the War of Independence, through two World Wars and the more recent Wars on Terrorism, the gun has been an American symbol of liberty and protection of the innocent.

However, one thing about firearms is true – whether they’re being used to hunt, wage war or defend a person’s home, they’re still used to hurt people, whether on purpose or by accident, and whether in games or real life.

This has led to many pogroms directed at both of these elements over the years. Countless times had a gaggle of concerned parents tried to ban violent video games. Countless times more had the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) tried to enforce stricter gun control laws because of another school shooting. 

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Thus, games have become a kind of an eternal scapegoat for whenever gun violence is perpetrated in our streets and schools. However, most of this hatred is often misdirected and unfounded, as scientists around the globe have come to a near-unanimous decision that gun violence and video games aren’t nearly connected as they might first seem – if they are connected at all.

This proves that, instead of pointless crusades against guns and video games, we should be focusing on a much larger issue – that of the mental health of our children and our people. Most school shootings have nothing to do with video games but with the fragile minds of those perpetrators, and our inability to see the signs early on.

The Positive Impact Video Games Have Had on Gun Culture

Despite the controversies and debates surrounding firearms and video games, it’s important to recognize the positive impact video games have had on gun culture. In fact, some video games have even been praised for their realistic depiction and promotion of responsible gun use.

For example, the popular game series “Call of Duty” has been commended by veterans for its accurate portrayal of military tactics and the use of real-life firearms. After all, what could be cooler than being able to build your own AR15 rifle and own the exact same copy in real life?

Additionally, games like “Hunting Simulator” have been praised for promoting responsible hunting practices and education on gun safety. Games like these have also served as a way for gun enthusiasts to come together and bond over their shared passion.

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Online communities have formed around games like “Escape from Tarkov” and “Rainbow Six Siege,” where players discuss gun specs and tactics and even share their own real-life experiences with firearms. 

In some cases, video games have even inspired players to pursue careers in law enforcement or the military. Games like “America’s Army” and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” have been used as recruitment tools for the armed forces.

Ultimately, more and more video games are moving away from the gratuitous glorification of violence and are moving more toward presenting a more grounded view of firearms and their uses in real life.

And, as an ever-increasing number of gamers become interested in firearms, the firearms themselves become more and more demystified. Now, instead of people fearing firearms and spewing platitudes, more and more (young) people are approaching them with the reverence, respect, and common sense that they deserve.

The Future of Guns and Video Games: Collaboration or Controversy?

As technology continues to advance, the worlds of guns and video games will undoubtedly become even more entwined. The question is, will this collaboration be a positive one, or will it continue to be a source of controversy?

On one hand, advancements in virtual reality technology have already allowed for incredibly realistic simulations of firearms and combat scenarios. This has the potential to revolutionize training for law enforcement and the military, allowing for more effective and efficient training without the inherent dangers of live-fire exercises.

 

On the other hand, there is always the risk of glorifying violence and promoting the irresponsible use of firearms in video games. As video game graphics and physics become more realistic, it’s important to ensure that the depictions of firearms are responsible and accurate.

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Additionally, as society continues to grapple with issues of gun violence and mental health, the intersection of guns and video games will likely continue to be a contentious issue. Both industries need to work together to address these issues and promote the responsible use of firearms in both virtual and real-world settings.

Ultimately, the future of guns and video games is in the hands of those who create and consume them. It’s up to us to ensure that this collaboration is a positive one, promoting responsible use of firearms and a healthy respect for their power.

Conclusion

In the end, it must be reiterated that video games and firearms are irreversibly linked, as is the controversy surrounding them. It would be foolish to think that there will come a time when these two topics aren’t controversial and that they won’t be debated hotly between their supporters and the opposition.

However, it must be said that video games are doing a great deal of work toward helping people understand firearms better. And with that understanding, perhaps we can be hopeful that fewer people will bash guns and video games out of fear and ignorance, but focus on the real and underlying problems in our society that result in violence guns and games get blamed for. 

After all, a gun is just a tool, and a game is just fiction – they have as much power over us as we give them.

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