Since the Clinton AWB sunset nearly 10 years ago, there has been a tremendous explosion in the growth of the American gun culture. Notable spikes occurred in 2008 and again in 2012. Traditionally, you’d expect to see an uptick in hunters, but you didn’t. In fact, during the same time period we’ve seen hunting continue to decline. How we fix hunting is a post for another time, because today we’re talking about what really saved the gun culture: first person shooter video games like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Despite the media (and some misguided pro-gun people) attacking these so-called “violent video games”, the fact is that playing Halo has never turned anyone into a murderer any more than owning an AR15 does. In fact, these games have created a symbiotic relationship with the new gun culture. Here’s the timeline, based on some research. First, most new gun purchasers in 2008 and 2012 were in that critical 25-35 age demographic. People that age have been playing video games forever. If I had a dime for every person I overheard at West Coast Armory wanting to rent various guns because they’d “used them in video games” I’d have enough dimes to buy a small car, or a single box of .22 LR.
So all of a sudden, we get two crisis events: an anti-gun President gets elected. Suddenly, all of these gamers who’ve been playing with these guns all their lives are told that the real versions of those toys are bad, and that they shouldn’t have them. So what do they do? Buy them en masse. Then four years later, Sandy Hook happens, and once again the government is threatening to take away something they’ve had. So more buying ensues. Yes, there were regular gun owners buying during those times as well, but we’re talking about the new people. The people who show up at IDPA matches with a tac’d out HK45T because in was in a game.
These gamers saved our hobby. Did everyone who plays an FPS become a gun owners? No. Did everyone who became an gun owner because of Call of Field Duty become an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment? No. But every time someone buys a gun because “It was in a game I like” we smash another nail into the coffin of gun control.
Remington was a major sponsor of the new Call of Duty: Ghosts game. Trijicon has sponsored Battlefield games. The industry understands that gamers are absolutely current and future consumers of guns and firearms products. It’s high time the rest of us got on board and realized that video games aren’t the future of the gun culture – they’re right now. And we owe our continued existence in part to an influx of new blood that came from these games.
It’s especially important because it is bringing in people from more urban and suburban demographics – people who previously were falling out of gun culture because they didn’t grow up plinking in their backyard.
I used to sadden me to hear gunnies besmirch the “Counter-Strike Kiddies” (yeah, I’m old-school gamer) when a newbie bought a Sig or Glock or AK or M-Forgery ’cause it was in the game they played. Pretty damned short sighted if you asked me. If someone bought a purple AR because it matched their My Little Pony collection, hell, I’m all for it, I’m gonna keep my eye on him, but I’m all for it.
Heh, I still have a SIG 551 on my wish list because of CounterStrike.
Gotta find a way to keep guns relevant. I’d say that Remington being a sponsor of these games was a wise decision. As I recall, Larry Vickers and Daniel Defense were brought on as consultants for other FPS games. Funny thing, the anti gunners are starting to catch on and cry foul.
Makes me smile inside 😀
Sad to say however you are right.
Naw…I blame the internet. Now days you see and buy guns/ ammo on line.. Read reviews. Pre internet days you had shotgun news, letters, land line phones, and gun shows only. A lot of gun people served in the military too…Video games just makes crazies and want to bees who post that they are gun experts cause they shot the gun on the game. I’d say it only helped a little.
Just the opinion of an old man.
This is exactly what the problem is. Name one instance where video games caused someone to kill.
Video games are incredibly mainstream nowadays; someone who played the home version of Pong at age 5 the first year it came out would now be 43. At this moment there are 130,000 people worldwide playing the various versions of Counter-strike. Movie studios are hesitant to release anything the same weekend as a big game launch.
The news media makes a big deal of these mass shooters having played games, but it’s so common that saying “he plays video games” is tantamount to saying “he watches TV”. In my case, I barely watch any TV, because I prefer the interactivity of games, especially if I can do it with friends. Nearly everyone I know my age plays games to some extent.
Also, not everyone plays military shooters; there’s a wide variety of genres out there. Some people like the Mario games, some like racing games, and some like strategy games that are essentially a digital version of Risk. If you do want to emulate the behavior you see in games, as I said below, is that really any different than emulating something from a movie?
As I recall Pong came out around in 1977 when I first played it and I was in my 20’s.
I’m with you rogertc1, I don’t believe video games had anymore to do with gun sales than they do with the possibility of people losing it because they play them. I know, everyone likes to say stuff like prove it: it’s hard to prove things when the shooter is often dead or there is no knowledge of who the shooter was. It is more likely that gun sales increased due to economic conditions, terrorist activity and being concerned about new gun restrictions.
“Sad to say however you are right.”
It’s not sad; it’s getting them (us) interested. How many Boomers were first introduced to a variety of different firearms by John Wayne? Same thing, different generation.
I did some shooting as a kid, mostly at camp, but a little with my dad’s pellet gun in our small backyard. But it was paintball that got me interested in how guns work mechanically, and it was airsoft and Counterstrike that got me interested in the various models of semi-autos on the market.
My generation also came of age around the time of Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Black Hawk Down, movies that helped reverse the decades-long trend of great hardware being used exclusively by movie villains, or criminal anti-heroes. I know several people my age who own Garands, ARs, and 1911s at least in part because of those movies.
Now we also have games made for the realism enthusiast (mostly by smaller studios, cause it’s a niche market), so you have to take into account bullet drop, or maybe even windage; the ARMA series and the Red Orchestra series being two of the more popular titles. There’s also one of my recent favorites — Receiver. It’s a proof-of-concept game that models each step of the reload as a separate action, instead of just pressing “R” and waiting 3 seconds til you can shoot again. So to load a fresh mag from slide lock, it requires 5 button presses in the correct sequence.
and they do a wonderful job of deprogramming the crap they are fed about guns in schools too.
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