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Gun Games -- Exploring the Gun Debate and the Videogame Blame
Post by butters @ 11:36am 11/04/13 | Comments
Videogames have been on the frontline by pro-gun groups and individuals in the wake of increased and alarming gun violence in the United States. We explore the issue, and take a look at more angles to the epidemic, including the blame of videogames...

Article co-written and researched by Steve Farrelly

1. Hate the Player, Not the Game

In the wake of the tragedy that befell Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year, the US has been searching for answers to some very tough questions. The senseless violence that erupted at the school shook a nation whose (mostly) blissful ignorance of gun control and gun violence was jarred into a harsh and unwarranted reality. But rather than the tools of destruction, or the mental health of those in miraculous possession of them, the pro-gun agenda has been looking for almost anything else to blame; washing its hands of any undue conduct and laying the burden on almost all in its sights.

Videogames, as we rightfully explore here, are under siege by sections of the media and self interested groups (and individuals) that are uninterested in dialogue where ‘blame’ on the US’ gun violence is concerned. Instead we’re left swallowing hyperbole, exaggeration, misinformation and sensationalism as a means to pursue an agenda that only serves to deflect blame, or as in the case of some media, create catching yellow-journalistic (read: sensationalist) headlines.

Let’s take a look:
  • Wayne LaPierre - Executive VP of the NRA post-Sandy Hook press conference:

    "Guns don't kill people... videogames, the media and Obama's budget kill people."

  • Sen. Jay Rockefeller:

    "Major corporations, including the videogame industry make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children. They have a responsibility to protect our children."

  • Sen. Joe Lieberman:

    "The violence in the entertainment culture — particularly, with the extraordinary realism to videogames, movies now, et cetera — does cause vulnerable young men to be more violent."

  • Donald Trump:

    "Videogame violence and glorification must be stopped — it is creating monsters!"
CNN got in on the action with the news that Newtown shooter Adam Lanza played StarCraft in a tech club at school. Brandishing "Video Game Concerns after Newtown" as an overlay while interviewing Prof. Craig Anderson of Iowa State University, who stated that evidence shows that "media violence is a risk factor, a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behaviour, including violence".

The veracity of Prof. Anderson’s statement cannot be denied, however, videogames are often the victim of clever bait-and-switch tactics, the example here being how "media violence" is used interchangeably with “violent videogames” and “causal risk factor” is assumed to mean a causal link. The mistreatment of scientific statements is the kind of hyperbole and exaggeration that makes open debate about complex issues difficult. Another issue is, of course, the segment on Adam Lanza playing videogames at school in the first place. If StarCraft -- the game Lanza allegedly played -- was a trainer of violent killers, South Korea would be in deep trouble and North Korea well could be the ideal utopia its leadership believes it to be. But as we know, this is not the case.

Videogames have, for quite a while, been a regular part of growing up yet the assumption is to suppose a possible link between playing games and violent crime automatically. A perfect example is cited in an article by Paul Tassi of Forbes when he recounts an interview with the roommates of the Virginia Tech killer:
Interviewer: What did he do when you were living with him? Did you ever see him playing videogames on his computer?

Roommate: No, he really just spent all his time typing in Word.

Interviewer: You’re sure? He never played any violent videogames at all?

Roommate: No, he just wrote all the time.
So let’s take a look at violence and videogames and investigate what has been shown and what has not been shown in regards to videogames and violence. First, do they cause violence? And if not then why the blame? Let’s examine that while videogames are given headlines for their violent content, they are used as an excuse, hypocritically, to boost business and detract from sensible legislation on acquiring guns.

2. Games and Violence

To put things in perspective people once said that reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had a tendency to corrupt juveniles with its glorification of violence and descriptions of bestiality, a tenuous thread of association that is mostly laughed at in retrospect. In a similar vein, it’s ridiculous to think that if you read lots of fantasy books you want to uproot your existence to make like Don Quixote. So why then is it assumed by so many groups and individuals to be fait accompli for a person who likes games that are violent to they themselves be violent? It is a flawed and erroneous assumption countered well by this report by Forbes, from April 2012, showing that even though videogame sales have incrased rapidly, the rate of violent crime has fallen.

Such a view is covered in more detail by Forbes in another article using 2011 sales statistics showing the five biggest videogame markets in the world compared with firearm deaths. The biggest market is the United States ($13.6B) followed by Japan ($7B), China ($6.8B), South Korea ($5B) and the United Kingdom ($3B). This is compared with firearm deaths of 10.2 per 100,000 in the United States, 0.07 in Japan, 0.19 in China, 0.13 in South Korea and 0.25 in the UK. It should be noted with the high figure of the United States it is not clear if that reflects firearm deaths by suicide, a rate that in this article is given as more than 50%.

There’s a lot that needs to be taken with a grain of salt in the above statistics given that it tracks overall videogame sales and not the specific sale of violent videogames. A pertinent distinction as games most often blamed for violent crimes such as Call of Duty with Anders Breivik and Doom and Wolfenstein 3D with the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, are not big sellers in Japan. A quick look at (beginning of March in this case) shows that while Black Ops II is No. 3 in Europe and the US, it only just breaks the top 10 in Japan, which is dominated by handheld sales. Yet the overall figure shows an interesting disparity between the United States and the other countries, a disparity large enough to exclude videogames as the soulless trainer of killers they are made out to be.

3. Games, Aggression and Gamers

If the ownership of videogames doesn’t have a causal link with gun crime, they must do something. Otherwise why would the NRA, politicians and media pundits be so forceful about the issue? The truth is that studies have shown that games can have an affect on the human brain.

A short summary of the issue by the Iowa State University Department of Sociology summarises the conclusions of a study researching the results of 35 separate studies on the issue. The former study from Psychological Science in 2001 is reported as concluding: “Children who play violent videogames experience an increase in physiological signs of aggression” and “Children who play violent videogames experience an increase in aggressive actions”. Yet it is careful to point out that they don’t say it causes children to act out the violence they see on the screen. A fact emphasised by Prof. Anderson at Iowa University, who states that "none of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied, and so on".

That videogames can increase physiology in an aggressive way has also been researched by Brad J. Bushman of The Ohio State University who, based on his own findings, concludes that violent videogames increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (ie heart rate and blood pressure) and decreases helping behaviour and empathy. Although he too is quick to point out that violent media is only one factor.

With all that in mind it’s still too early to get carried away by studies regarding physiological changes as they focus on internal changes rather than their application to premeditated violence. To begin, one could be flippant and say that if you keep getting killed by some cheating camper in CoD, you’re bound to get angry. Furthermore, however, the veracity of experimental studies and non-experimental studies of aggressive behaviour and thoughts has been challenged in literature review. Christopher J. Ferguson at Texas A&M International University in a meta-analytic review found “experimental studies of aggressive behavior, as well as for non-experimental studies of aggressive behavior and aggressive thoughts” have a statistical bias, he also indicated higher measurements of aggression were at times produced by less standardised and reliable measures.

What then shall we make of the summary of research available through the Entertainment Software Association? A summary, we might add, that is available in plain sight and speaks volumes of the transparency of the educational and informative component of bodies helping to regulate the games industry and inform consumers of their choices and the content of all videogames submitted to the process.

It cites a number of studies that contradict or undermine the results mentioned above. For example:
"Structural equation modeling suggested that family violence and innate aggression as predictors of violent crime were a better fit to the data than was exposure to video game violence. These results question the common belief that violent-video-game exposure causes violent acts."

"It’s clear that the ‘big fears’ bandied about in the press -- that violent video games make children significantly more violent in the real world... -- are not supported by the current research, at least in such a simplistic form. That should make sense to anyone who thinks about it. After all, millions of children and adults play these games, yet the world has not been reduced to chaos and anarchy.”

“Most research on electronic play has focused on its possible negative effects for children and adolescents, and contextual factors such as socioeconomic status and culture are rarely considered.”

“The strong link between videogame violence and real world violence, and the conclusion that videogames lead to social isolation and poor interpersonal skills, are drawn from bad or irrelevant research, muddleheaded thinking and unfounded, simplistic news reports.”
That last quote, from the book Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Video Games and What Parents Can Do raises an interesting parallel with the violent videogame and gun violence debate; are gamers the socially inept cretins they are made out to be?

Take for instance the stance by Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News and self-proclaimed tidal expert around the time of the PS3 launch:
"Basically what you have is a large portion of the population, mostly younger people under the age of 45, who don’t deal with reality -- ever. So they don’t know what day it is; they don’t know what temperature it is; they don’t know what their neighbor looks like. They don’t know anything… because they are constantly diverted by a machine. Now what this does is it takes a person away from reality because they’ve created their own reality..."
Apart from the fact that such a point of view would be considered offensive to most gamers, it paints a picture of gamers as unable to think or reason for themselves and thus being highly susceptible to suggestion. In other words, it plays to the agenda that violent games exert an undue and unhealthy influence on the players that transforms them into violent killers. But just as a paid-up NRA member may not be spouting “they’ll have to pry this rifle from my cold dead hand” (see Americans for Responsible Solutions and Richard Feldman as examples) not all gamers are soulless vessels, incapable of reasoning and can, in fact, even survive in social settings.

4. Videogames and Political Expediency

For gamers, violent videogames are just that, videogames. A slice of interactive action and adventure. But to others, it’s a different type of game -- a political game. Take for instance the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre when he said “law abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals”. This is the same Wayne LaPierre who blames videogames and Obama’s budget for killing people while remaining willfully ignorant of the fact that gamers also will not accept blame for the acts of violent of deranged criminals he allotted upon them. What most gamers will do is call for sensible policy debate on how to decrease such senseless mass killings.

That the NRA so steadfastly defends their Second Amendment right to bear arms is hypocritical with its stance on videogames, the distribution of which has become a First Amendment debate. Indeed an early lawsuit against the makers of Doom and Mortal Kombat by some of the victims’ families of the Columbine High School Massacre was unsuccessful on the grounds of the First Amendment right to free speech. More recently in June 2011, the US Supreme Court rejected a California law to restrict videogame sales as an affirmation of free speech in the digital age.

That an organisation will, without conscience, stick so adamantly to its position is, in a word, childish. The Second Amendment was affirmed in 1791, when flintlock ignition was the only weapon of choice, not the AR-15 assault rifle as used in both the Aurora Cinema Massacre and the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre. As recently documented on Foreign Correspondent, the NRA receives tens of millions of dollars in funding from weapons manufacturers and a ban on any type of weapons, or weapon attachments, such as high capacity magazines, would have a negative impact on business.

While there was an assault weapons ban in the US from 1994 to 2004, it only covered weapons manufactured after 1994. There was an attempt to reintroduce the ban as an attachment with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protected manufacturers from being liable for crimes committed with their product but was voted down (although the act passed in 2005, with the assault weapons ban removed). While the NRA should not necessarily be held liable, that they make no effort to reduce their negative impact is shameful.

The NRA is against any type of gun reform or restriction as well as background checks, even with huge loopholes in the system. You do not require a license to sell weapons or ammunition at a gun show, or a background check to purchase one. In Baltimore County, Chief of Police James Johnson claims that “40% of gun purchases happen without background checks”. While an individual is not a criminal because they purchase a gun without a background check, cases such as this one covered by the Huffington Post shows how mandatory checks may have prevented a senseless domestic violence death, by a man that was banned from owning a gun, but able to purchase one anyway.

Another one from Wayne LaPierre (we’re not picking on him, it’s just that he actually says all this) is “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. To avid supporters of the NRA such an idea makes perfect sense, yet studies show it is hardly the case. In an online article for Princeton Election Consortium it’s shown that the three states with the highest rate of gun ownership -- Wyoming, Alaska and Montana -- have a gun death rate over four times higher than the three lowest states -- Hawaii, New Jersey and Massachusetts. It should perhaps be further noted that both New Jersey and Massachusetts have Child Access Prevention Laws that impose criminal liability on adults who negligently leave firearms for children to easily access. While a study way back in 1999 revealed that 75% of guns used in youth suicides and unintentional injuries were stored at the home of a victim, relative or friend, not all states have adopted the law, which an article in the Fordham Urban Law Journal supposes is a direct result of the NRA’s lobbying power in Congress.

While Connecticut does have state law based on negligent storage, a so-called “sin tax” of 10% has been proposed by State Rep. Debralee Hovey (R - 112th District) on games rated “mature”. Reactionary legislation at best, it utterly fails to understand, first off, that over-taxing will simply create a bigger illegal and unregulated market, and two, that it fails to address the issues of gun access, socioeconomic, family and social links to youth violence that have been left out of the debate on violent videogames to begin with.

5. Learn From History, Don’t Fall From Pride

The significance of this report being researched and written by Australians (on an Australian games website, no less) should not go unnoticed by our friends across the Pacific. On April 28, 1996, Australia experienced its own tragedy at the hands of an armed individual who opened fire on unsuspecting tourists at a resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania with semi-automatic weapons. Martin Bryant killed 35 people and injured a further 23. In an 18-year period prior to the Port Arthur massacre, Australia experienced some 13 gun massacres (“massacre” being defined by four or more deaths).

Two weeks after the worst gun-related massacre in Australian history, newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard enacted a nationwide gun buyback scheme and passed bipartisan legislation for stricter gun-control laws that banned the purchase of semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, along with major overhauls on most laws involved with acquiring a weapon in the first place.

With one year left to equalise the 18-year period prior to the Port Arthur massacre and since Australia’s decisive call-to-action on gun reform after the event, there hasn’t been a single massacre on Australian soil. Moreover, a study by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that the NFA (National Firearms Agreement) also “seems to have reduced firearm homicide outside of mass shootings, as well as firearm suicide”, pointing out that “in the seven years before the NFA (1989-1995), the average annual firearm suicide death rate per 100,000 was 2.6 (with a yearly range of 2.2 to 2.9); in the seven years after the buyback was fully implemented (1998-2004), the average annual firearm suicide rate was 1.1 (yearly range 0.8 to 1.4)”.
Additional evidence strongly suggests that the buyback causally reduced firearm deaths. First, the drop in firearm deaths was largest among the type of firearms most affected by the buyback. Second, firearm deaths in states with higher buyback rates per capita fell proportionately more than in states with lower buyback rates.
The interesting point about all of the above is that violent videogames have only recently been granted an R18+ rating here in Australia (implemented in January of 2013), and prior to this and more recent bannings of particular games (specifically since Grand Theft Auto III in 2002), many games rated R18+ or equivalent in other countries, were sold in Australia as M or MA15+, often uncensored. So despite a clear decline in gun-related deaths since the implementation of the NFA, but clear access to violent games in that time, we still haven’t experienced an event of the magnitude of Sandy Hook or Port Arthur, drawing a clear line between plausible denial of blame in the latter (that violent videogames create killers), and empirical evidence for a causal link between lax gun laws and gun-related deaths (not taking into account socioeconomic or cultural factors where applicable in gun-related deaths).

6. What We’re Missing, What We’re Getting

The question could be asked of the NRA, staunch anti gun reform lawmakers and general immovable NRA supporters “what are you doing to create a safer environment?”. The answer would be “nothing”. Lobbying against any reform, even against NRA members in smear campaigns based on complete lies (again see ABC’s Foreign Correspondent: Inside the NRA), makes it impossible to explore and address all the facets of a complex issue in America -- gun ownership and violence.

But while the NRA actively drives to resist change, the videogame industry has proven more adaptive through, in the United States, the Entertainment Software Review Board, a voluntary group. Different from legal regulation of content, the ESRB reviews and labels videogames that may contain offensive content, also categorising it fit for Everyone (E), Teen (T), Mature (M) or Adults Only (AO).

Such devices work to educate parents purchasing games, yet not all parents follow the ratings systems, and games can also be acquired in other ways that leaves the parent out of the loop. In some instances, as BIll O’Reilly so eloquently puts it “there are a lot of derelict parents and there are parents who don’t care and they use these videogames as babysitters”. Perhaps unintentionally, O’Reilly touched on an important point about media coverage of the issue made in an article entitled Do Video Games Kill?:
“By focusing so heavily on videogames, news reports downplay the broader social contexts. While a handful of articles note the roles that guns, poverty, families, and the organization of schools may play in youth violence in general, when reporters mention research to explain the shooters’ behavior, the vast majority of studies cited concern media effects.”
It seems that whichever angle you take the heart of the issue is avoided; the heart of the issue being that gun violence has become epidemic in the United States.

In a straightforward call-to-action published on the Huffington Post, pediatricians and members for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America state matter-of-factly that one child dies every three hours from gun violence. In the face of inaction as study after study shows that states with tougher legislation have fewer deaths from firearms.

Sadly, nobody sees that happening soon and as gamers we are left to shoulder, not just the blame for supporting such an “evil” industry, but for being so anti-social and removed from reality in the first place. Perhaps we can reflect on this line by Jane McGonigal in her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World:
A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.
Or perhaps with matters videogame-related we can still turn to Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto -- “Videogames are bad for you? That’s what they said about Rock ‘n Roll”.

Latest Comments
Posted 06:30pm 11/4/13
The US seem hell bent on blaming any sort of outside influence rather than the glaringly outdated and short sighted second amendment.

In the year 2013, there is still an alarming percentage of US citizens that believe they should have access to these weapons should the government of the day become tyrannical as stipulated in the second amendment.

I'm a former infantry solider, Ive had professional training in all infantry weapons of the Australian Army plus extra training on weapons outside of our general issue e.g. M4 Carbine, AK47, MP5 etc. I know what these weapons are for and Ive seen what they can do Timor/Iraq. The idea that US civilians are allowed access to these weapons is beyond horrific. To come to the realization that more Americans have died at the hands of Americans in the last 60 years than from all US involvement in any war since their founding, Google search re: US Gun Deaths.

Gun lobby groups such as the NRA are entirely too powerful with the halls of power. The contributions will vary from state to state but usually have greatest impact on the local government level. Weapon manufacturers are still one of the few cottage industries the the states that are doing well. After Sandy Hook, gun sales in that state rose by over 350% and accessories such as (I can't believe this exists) bulletproof kids backpacks rose even higher.

Music, Film, Video Games. Scape goats. Those damn Yankees loves them guns.
Posted 07:18pm 11/4/13
While I agree America needs an overhaul of its firearm laws, much like Australia, I do have a problem with the words "Gun" and "Weapon" used interchangeably.
Posted 09:02pm 11/4/13
I'm sorry Steve but you've missed what is the real cause of all of this. The real problem is the anonymity of the internet.

You will have to accept that I was brought up well before there was an internet. All social interaction during that time was face to face with few exceptions (telephone). Youth back then learned very quickly that you either respected others or you just didn't associate with them. Back then there was corporal punishment at school and none of this childrens rights bs. Children were to be seen and not heard (until 18). All the firearms today (assault etc) were available then.

Children have been conditioned today with no discipline, they get away with bad behaviour. They treat each other like s*** and they treat adults the same.

Now when someone is treated poorly constantly the stress will build. Ultimately, they lose the plot and if they have access to firearms they will unleash it on weaker, easier victims.

The only way to stop it is to cease the anonymity and curtail the poor attitudes to others.

Jebus, I sound like my father. Who also said exactly the same thing about my generation.......
Posted 09:19pm 11/4/13
Legislation on the verge of making it through the house? Lol no it's not. Not a chance.
Posted 10:20pm 11/4/13
Typical old people, only see the problems that exist and are new, and forget all the ones which were solved by the coming of the new.

Less deaths per year proportionally. Higher standard of living proportionally. Better options in life for young kids, and more opportunities for relaxation than ever.

Yet there's always the fogies who can complain like it's the end of the world because we solved a bunch of stuff they lived with but unwittingly caused some lesser evils along the way.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 10:52pm 11/4/13
Making it through "to" the house, not through it
Posted 11:31pm 11/4/13
Very good read. It seems strange how people can ignore logic for so long. I can guarantee that if this article was sent to fox news or the majority of supporters for the lack of firearms laws that it would be almost entirely ignored. I think the saddest example of this type of thing was the interview on fox news about mass effect with Geoff Keighly and a supposed expert.
Where the expert basically ignored all points made by Geoff and continued to raise questions or make points that had already been made null by Geoff.
Posted 12:16am 12/4/13
I'm actually very familiar with the literature on videogame violence and agression/outcomes, and your literature search was very weak there steve, suprisingly. Also you have lots of leaps in logic, combined with lots of statistics implying causation where either there is none or it ignores possible regional/developmental effects.

I can tell you right away that playing violent video games, especially those with blood, increases your short-term aggression significantly. I recall a well done landmark study that randomly gave kids/families a console (I think ps2/3?) with no games, and the students in the family had everything from lower grades to higher social troubles and aggression in school. I can dig up some literature for you but i'm a bit busy atm, ask me on weekend if you have trouble looking it up yourself

Where the literature all seems to fall down though is in long term consequences. While the studies on long term measures have been reported to be psychometrically sound, it has to be the most conflicting literature on any topic I've seen. This is for two main reasons; because there isn't enough data yet and there are way to many vested interests in the research, from both VG lobbyists and 'family' groups. Possibly a file drawer effect too, but not too likely.

In any case, your article comes across as extremely biased and overly political in nature. You shouldn't be arguing against Bill O'Rielly or preaching to the choir about almost unrelated statistics, you should be encouraging relevant on-topic debate by citing relevant research and comparisons to other forms of media (which you did only a little).

If I were you, I would just replace that whole article with one neat little picture;

Posted 01:00am 12/4/13
Now when someone is treated poorly constantly the stress will build. Ultimately, they lose the plot and if they have access to firearms they will unleash it on weaker, easier victims.

Yep, if there was a gun in my house when I was in highschool, there's a good chance I'd have taken it and found the most isolated spot I could and pulled the trigger.
Posted 04:15am 12/4/13
Making it through "to" the house, not through it

Not even getting to the house. Assault weapons and mag limit already dead. Background checks hanging in there, but not gunna happen.
Posted 05:50am 12/4/13
There was a story out years ago about a guy who went crazy beat up a cop stole his gun, took his patrol vehicle, found assault rifles in the boot and went on a killing spree. The courts tried to blame it on video games as they found GTA in his house, when questioned he said he couldn't have done it without his US Marine training.
Posted 09:12am 12/4/13
According to games I can also do this:

Posted 11:42am 12/4/13
The debate about statistics and who or what is to blame will go on forever. but the fact of the matter is this: the more guns available, the more deaths there will be. its the nature of things.
I'm completely astounded that any civilised country anywhere in the world would allow it's citizens to have lawful access to automatic assault rifles and submachine guns with hi-capacity magazines but the time has come and gone to do anything to stop it. At the sheer mention of any sort of reform, these gun nuts freak out and decide that the government is going to send in the national guard to confiscate their .22 bolt action hunting rifle and enslave them for all eternity.
Mass murders and gun violence has been part of the American culture well before video games were created. The country was founded on violence, it's in their DNA and nothing will stop it!
Posted 04:50pm 12/4/13
I'm completely astounded that any civilised country anywhere in the world would allow it's citizens to have lawful access to automatic assault rifles and submachine guns with hi-capacity magazines

So stupid you must be a troll, f*** it I'll bite anyway. Try learning a little bit about what firearms are what and which ones people can and can't have and what they have to do to obtain them before opening your dumb as f*** mouth.

Please define for me what a high capacity magazine is too if you don't mind. No doubt you are just another dumb s*** that swallows and then regurgitates every pathetic sensationalistic words the media serves up the mindless drones.

I'm a former infantry solider, Ive had professional training in all infantry weapons of the Australian Army plus extra training on weapons outside of our general issue e.g. M4 Carbine, AK47, MP5 etc.

Dude I did my time at Singo before being transfered off to Arty and nothing in the training gives you anymore insight into the safe operation of firearms or respect for them that the average civi can't get from some very basic training.

Just like the guy I quoted above you it might pay you to actually find out what Americans can access and how they can get it. You can't NOT own any fully automatic rifle produced after 1986 and the M4 began production in 1994. The cost and checks involved with obtaining any fully automatic firearm are extremely prohibitive. DO a few searches on google and you'll soon realize that getting your hands on something like a real M16 is simply not going to happen for average person. Some of the prices I have seen on an M16 are over $16,000 so good luck getting one.

Btw you clowns do realize that semi auto rifles in the US account for less than 1% of all firearm deaths don't you? Because if you actually gave a f*** about the issue you'd be more interested in having an opinion on handguns rather than the big scary black rifles that the media plaster all over the place.
Posted 02:29pm 12/4/13
To all people commenting, please ensure you respond politely and on topic; abuse will just get deleted and you won't have the opportunity to have your say.
Posted 06:00pm 12/4/13

Perhaps I should have made the distinction between the rifle types which are most commonly used and in the spotlight at the moment 'semi-auto' and 'fully auto' but hey, my mistake.
I was simply stating my disbelief that fully automatic weapons can be purchased by civilians (aside from the current controversy) and YOU backed that fact in your post so i dont understand the nastiness.
I know what hi capacity means but when the average person thinks 'hi capacity' they generally think of lots of bullets. Short of describing each individual mag size in this category, the term 'lots of bullets' is all you need to know to make up your own mind that its too many.
Posted 06:10pm 12/4/13
Just have to point out the term 'violent videogames' as mentioned by Phooks and several times in the AusGamers article is not technically correct. The videogames are not associated with any real violence in the way that boxing or football are. Nobody receives broken bones from making or playing videogames. They depict fantasy violence, but this is not the same thing as showing actual violence or being involved in violence.

Now if they made a videogame where you could actually hurt the guy playing on the other end...

Posted 06:42pm 12/4/13
Bunny the nastiness comes from hearing yet another person with an opinion recycling the same uneducated crap the media and the anti gun zealots do. You can take talk of fully automatic firearms right off the table because almost no one has them and they are exceedingly hard to get your hands on.

So are they readily available to the general public? F*** no they aren't but that doesn't stop dumb asses from invoking their name every time this tired as f*** topic comes up. You want to have an opinion on the horrors of a******* doing the wrong thing with firearms then at least have a point that has some credibility like attacking handguns which overwelhmingly account for the bulk of firearm deaths. Attacking a more logical group of firearms such as handguns would actually make sense instead of falling like a drone for the media spin on be black scary looking rifles which account for around .04% of all US firearm deaths. Btw you want to check some stats get off your ass and check out the FBI's website where hammers actually do account for more deaths than semi auto rifles. You just like everyone else is a complete sucker for a dramatic headline and thats it.
Posted 06:50pm 12/4/13
I think AR-15's, AK variants and all other manner of semi-automatic rifles should have the same rules as semi-auto pistols here; For sporting use only. Short of holding the Russian invasion force at bay, you dont need an AR to defend yourself. America is an example of one extreme.

Australia is the other end. While the majority of Australian firearm laws make sense, many do not. ie. I can only have limited, 10 round magazines for my 9mm. This means I am now unable to compete with the rest of the world when it comes to IPSC and other pistol sports.

I do know, however, that it takes less than half a second to change magazines (I have checked with a highspeed), yet there is no magazine limit. So I have 12 magazines with a total capacity of 120 rounds that is apparently safer than having 7 magazines with the same number of rounds.

Don't even get me started on suppressors.

Also, the measures put in place to "cap" the magazines only require 15 seconds and a phillips head screwdriver to remove, but I'm sure its beyond the capacity of all those pesky criminals >.>

New Zealand and Switzerland are probably the worlds best examples where a citizen is able to buy semi-automatic rifles (In the latters case, its law to have one in every house) and yet have some of the lowest crime rates in the world, including firearm related crimes. Of course, an appropriate license is needed in New Zealand which has many restrictions and obligations, however it is still obtainable for a law abiding citizen. Oh, and you can buy suppressors there... and threading one onto the end of your firearm has been shown to NOT turn you into a serial killing maniac. Go figure.

While Australia isn't the best example of firearm control, it's still preferable to the current state of America.
Posted 07:25pm 12/4/13
CHang whats the deal with .45's in Australia these days? For some reason I had the feeling they weren't permitted? It'd be completely retarded if they weren't allowed when you consider a 9mm is every bit as dangerous.

The whole high cap mag thing here in the US is beyond retarded. Uneducated morons have this idea that because some pinhead in the press said anything with more than 10 rounds must be high cap and it must be true... you know ... because the media said so. You know I recall 23 years ago having 30 rnd mags for M16's become common place in the Army and being seen as standard not f*****g high cap. Sure thats the army right but ownership doesn't change wheather something is considered standard or something extra.

One of the hilarious examples of stupid anti gun lunatics making stupid changes to laws without thinking things through is the laws in New York. They f***ed up when they brought in their max rnd capacity of 7 rounds per handgun mag. They didn't exempt law enforcement so they had to scramble to fix it. Now they have had to rethink that entire part of the legislation because it's aparently going to prove to be completely unworkable.

Then there is this completely stupid old nag that thinks mags are a single use deal. Thats right she actually think that mags can only be used once.

This is the level of stupidity of the politicians with a dog in this race. This guy doesn't blieve for a second the laws will change anything yet he is selling them to the public like thier the countries only hope. It's pretty f*****g reprehensible for any politician to work to bring in laws that strip peoples freedom all the while knowing they'll do nothing to help the situation.

Posted 07:27pm 12/4/13
Geez mate calm down! I never quoted any statistics about what weapon has killed more people and havent claimed to care for them in what i posted. Ok,autos are off topic, fine. Forget about handgun debate, theyre untouchable. You even suggest reform for handguns and you will get shot with a handgun. Theyre basically the most widely utilised defence weapon, along with shotguns, against home invaiders in a town full of mad handgun owners. The current topic of reform refers to weapons of mass murder, which i think rules out hammers but you can google that for me. You claim to have military experience so tell me. If you want to clear a room with maximum casualty rate do you take 10 rounds of 9mm or 30 rounds of .223?
I never claimed that high velocity rifles are responsible for every death in the U.S. my concern is that the most potentially leathal firearm available to commit mass murder is widely available and owned by civilians. And that is all i said!
Posted 07:32pm 12/4/13
Taipan, i saw those videos you posted. Unfortunately the most headlined debate from both sides of the argument are made by complete d*******s talking complete nonsense.....
Posted 08:32pm 12/4/13
Taipan: .45 ACP and above are completely legal in Australia..... provided you have both a high caliber permit and a genuine reason. As with any pistol, the only genuine reasons that are allowed are for sporting use. High caliber permits are only issued for certain sports, the only one I can remember off of the top of my head is called "metallic silhouette" (You need a big round to knock over the metal plates up to 200m).

The funny thing is a "high caliber permit" is designed to add another layer of restriction to what the pollies consider more dangerous rounds. It only considers bullet diameter, not velocity. Hence, I can still buy .30 Automag ( without a permit, but cant buy a nice classic .45 1911 without that permit.

I know which one is more dangerous. Another notable caliber is 5.7x28mm ( which is basically a small rifle round in a pistol. Higher velocity + flatter trajectory = more dangerous round. Also doesn't require an extra permit.

I would be 100% fine with Australian firearm laws.... if they were made by people who knew what they were talking about. That woman above that thinks magazines are one-use (and also calls them 'clips') basically sums up the people who govern all firearm legislation in this country.
Posted 08:42pm 12/4/13
I am familiar with the 5.7 ammo, its hard to get your hands on over here atm. It seems FNH don't produce anywhere near enough. I am also aware of those other 5.7 rounds that can penetrate vests which really freaks a few people out over here even though you can't actually get them.
Posted 05:14am 13/4/13
Bunny you say i claim to have military experience as if to suggest its possibly dubious wheather i do or not. Trust me i have just to make it clear. As for clearing a room i wouldnt personally use any of what you mentioned and if push came to shove id use a shotgun which in this ridiculous arguement over firearms is the most under rated firearm of the lot. There are many shotgun cartridges that in a confined space put a 5.56 to shame.

On a side note. It has been reported that the newtown shooter reloaded before entering each room which negated the mag cap issue. Authorities attribute this tactic to something he learned to do playing video games. Now i know all of you here are familiar with doing this. Now you could argue that had he been using ten round mags he may have had to reload while in a room thus allowing people to escape. However you can reload in about a second to good luck getting anywhere when you are cornered its not going to happen.
Posted 07:03am 13/4/13
ummm, you can clear a room far faster with say... a volvo 244
in aust more deaths occur due to mobile phones than guns

and I know why, it is also clearly video games, I meant these people learn to handle cars with games like need for speed, or even mario cart

and people havent learnt that they can often play games, and also use the mobile almost all the time, they dont learn that the disractions in the real world can kill you
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