Trump blames video games on gun violence, but defends NRA (again)

Trump suggested that there should be a rating system for video games and movies, even though there already are

By Matthew Rozsa

Published February 22, 2018 4:14PM (EST)

 (Getty/Chris Kleponis)
(Getty/Chris Kleponis)

President Donald Trump tried to defend the NRA on Thursday, trying to blame everyone but the gun lobby for the epidemic of mass shootings.

"We're going to take action," Trump told reporters on Thursday. "Today we want to hear from you about how we can improve physical security at our schools, tackle the issue of mental health which is a very big issue, this person that was caught after having killed so many people, 17, and badly injuring so many others... and we want to ensure that when we see warning signs we act quickly, and when we have somebody that's mentally unstable, like this guy that was a sicko, and there were a lot of warning signs, a lot of people were calling saying 'hey, he's going to do something bad,'  people have to act."

After claiming that gun prosecutions have increased "very significantly" during his administration and that he has also cracked down on gangs like MS-13, the president then described his stance on mandatory background checks.

"I've called many senators last night . . . they're into doing background checks that they wouldn't be thinking about maybe two weeks ago," Trump told reporters. "We're going to do a strong background check, we're going to work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18, we're getting rid of the bump stocks and we're going to be focusing very strongly on mental health."

The NRA is opposed to background checks as well as raising the age limit on gun purchases  — facts that Trump either didn't know or chose to ignore on Thursday.

"I don't think I'll be going up against them. ... They're good people," Trump told reporters when asked about the NRA's stance on raising the age limit. "The NRA is ready to do things. People like to blame them."

The president also discussed the alleged role of mental health in causing mass shootings and, finally, placed some of the blame on video games.

"I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," Trump said. "And you go one further step and that's the movies. . .  maybe they have to put a rating system for that."

Movies and video games are already subject to a rating system, one that accounts for violence and sexual content as well as other factors.

Trump also expressed disgust with active shooter drills, describing them as "a very negative thing," and instead said that he'd "much rather have a hardened school."

He repeated this point, proclaiming, "We have to harden our schools, not soften them up" and that establishing gun free zones made committing mass shootings there like "going in for the ice cream." He also suggested "a little bit of a bonus" for trained teachers who arm themselves, arguing, "I want my schools protected just like I want my banks protected."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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