While acknowledging that a “comprehensive approach” to the debate over gun violence is appropriate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Wednesday that her chief focus is on illegal weapons that are on the street and not violent video games.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” New York’s junior senator noted that proposals related to mental health and violent video games are already a part of the gun debate on Capitol Hill.
“Well, it’s something that we’re working on and there’s a number of bipartisan bills already on mental health and on video games,” Gillibrand said. “And I think those also can be part of the debate. I think it’s a comprehensive approach where you look at all of the, perhaps, aspects that affect violence, violent crime and perhaps can reduce gun death if we change the laws and change the playing field.”
But Gillibrand admitted that taking on the video game industry is not a priority for her. Rather, she said that she’s primarily focused on passing a federal law against gun trafficking.
“It’s not my gravest concern in New York state,” Gillibrand told the hosts. “My concern in New York state is trafficking because if nine out of 10 of the weapons used in crimes are illegally brought by a straw purchaser directly to a criminal, creating a massive criminal network, that’s what I’m really worried about. I’m not worried about video games. That’s not my area of focus. My area of focus is getting the illegal guns off the street.”
Ever since the December massacre in Newtown, Conn., Republicans and pro-gun advocates have sought to focus the debate on issues such as mental health and violence in entertainment as much as on firearms. A February poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed that 67 percent of Republicans nationwide think video games represent a bigger threat than guns.