As President Trump's meeting with members of the video game industry and policymakers in Washington concluded, details started to emerge from the closed meeting with the President on the subject of violent video games. A meeting that one attendee, Melissa Henson, described as "respectful but contentious."
The meeting began with Trump showing the members of the meeting a montage of clips from video games showcasing scenes of violence. When the video was over, Trump turned to the group to ask, "This is violent isn't it?"
The video clip Trump showed the meeting (h/t Kotaku)
The Washington Post was able to speak to some members who attended the meeting once it was over. "I think he's deeply disturbed by some of the things you see in these video games that are so darn violent, viciously violent, and clearly inappropriate for children," said Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Council, and part of the meeting today with Trump.
Bozell said that he urged Trump that there needed to be "much tougher regulation" of the video game industry, and that violent games "needed to be given the same kind of thought as tobacco and liquor."
Reports suggest that during the meeting, calls for greater scrutiny and regulation on video games came out as "strong." However, Henson, who is program director for the Parents Television Council, said that video game executives were "every bit as firm in their conviction there is no relation," between gun violence and video games.
Although no policy came from this meeting, reports suggest that Trump has taken a decidedly anti-violent video game stance who earlier this month said that violent games are "shaping young people's thoughts."
The ESA, the organization lobbying on behalf of video games, had two key members attend the meeting: president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board Pat Vance and head of the ESA Michael Gallagher. The organization released this statement after the meeting:
"We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President's receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion."
As noted previously, Trump is not the first politician or president to suggest violent video games could have something to do with gun violence. After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, President Barack Obama pushed for more research into a possible link between video games and gun violence.
It is unclear what the next steps are for the Trump administration in regards to violent video games, but as the gun control debate continues it seems likely that Trump will not let go the subject of the role of video games in gun violence.