WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will meet on Thursday with leaders of the video game industry to talk about gun violence, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
No announcement was made about who would be attending the meeting.
A spokesman for the the Entertainment Software Association, which represents major video game makers, said that they will attend, but they rejected the notion that their titles contribute to real-life mayhem.
“Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,” the association said. “Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the U.S. has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation.”
In the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shootings on Feb. 14, Trump held a meeting at the White House on school safety. That is when he brought up the issue of on-screen violence in video games and movies.
“We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” Trump said. He added, “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”
He also mentioned the need for ratings to warn parents about violent content, but it was unclear whether he was talking about updating the current system that is already in place for movies and video games.
The ESA said in its statement on Monday that the White House meeting “will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”
The industry operates a voluntary ratings system via the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
The Supreme Court in 2011 struck down a California law that attempted to restrict minors’ access to video games, ruling that the content is protected by the First Amendment.