Are Millennials Learning Gun Techniques via Video Games?

Are Millennials Learning Gun Techniques via Video Games?

There’s been a rising trend in the form of millennials and post-millennials getting their hands on automatic firearms and using them to threaten public safety. Unfortunately, some individuals suffer from mental illness and it’s hard to differentiate between those causing harm and those just purchasing a gun for hobby and recreation purposes. Could some individuals be learning how to shoot these guns via video games? Are violent games to blame? The fact is, probably not, and here are some reasons why we think that’s true.

Banishing High-Powered Firearms?

With the uprise of shootings everywhere from churches and bars to concerts and department stores, there is an urgency to find a solution to the problem. Officials are brainstorming a viable solution to end this type of violence.

Banishing high-powered rifles may not be the solution, but keeping them out of the wrong hands is. It’s fairly easy to get an AR-15 gun in states like Michigan, where background checks are basic and purchase access is quick. A more complex background and mental health screening is an essential solution, not banning guns and video games.

It’s All About the Mindset

Some of the more violent video games are Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto V, Resident Evil 7, Manhunt and even the popular Fortnite game involve gun violence. These games have age-restrictions and warning labels that state they contain a violent undertone as well as foul language.

It’s controversial whether young adults are learning things like gun techniques and behaviors from these games and applying them to real-life scenarios. However, most healthy players know the difference between the gaming world and real-life situations. For the average player that engages in violent gaming sessions, they’re able to turn off emotions and reactions that they develop when gaming and go back to their normal mindset when the game is off.

Shooting a Real Gun Is Complex

Sure, anyone can grab a gun and pull the trigger, but it takes training and experience to really know how to effectively operate a high-powered rifle or machine gun. Video games make it look easy to obtain and use an assault rifle. When in fact, using a gun wrong can cause extreme injury to the shooter. While anyone can operate any type of gun, to effectively operate and understand high-powered guns it takes someone trained in ballistics, military or law enforcement.

Gaining Access to High Powered Firearms

Many mass shooters use firearms registered under someone else’s name or a family member, and in some cases, they are stolen. Due to mental instability, they grab the firearms and recklessly use them to harm others. But there are cases, like with the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, in which the individual accumulated a huge cache or arsenal of their own guns and tactical gear and planned to hurt others but that’s not the typical scenario. It’s easy to build a stockpile of weapons in a game and then carry out a mission. In real life, it is much more challenging.

True, Some Shooters Delve Into Violent Gaming

It’s been reported that some past shooters have blasted their love for certain games on social media. It’s unfortunate but true. That doesn’t mean that every teen or adult who plays a gun-related game will become the next school or mass shooter. There is a true dissociation with reality that these individuals have, which makes it hard to differentiate between reality and virtual reality.

Know These Signs and Get Help

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools, or REMS, notes that there is no specific profile for a school shooter but they do exhibit some common behaviors.

Killers don’t happen overnight and there are some distinct warning signs that everyone should be aware of. It can be a buildup of ideations and characteristics, including:

  • Fascination with previous shootings or mass attacks
  • Paranoid ideas regarding police and government control
  • A history of violence
  • Depressed or suicidal ideation or mood
  • Sudden acquisition of weapons
  • History of domestic violence against loved ones
  • Recent escalation in weapons training
  • Obsession with making explosive devices
  • Sudden life change like death, breakup, job loss

While these factors don’t necessarily mean someone is going to commit a violent crime, it’s important to be aware that they can be cause for alarm.

Video games put the virtual player in control of obtaining and shooting a gun and performing violent acts. A healthy millennial can differentiate between this world and the real one, put the controller down and go about their daily life with no problem. For individuals with mental health issues, it can be the opposite. The images and techniques used in gaming may affect their real life. If this is you, help is available at 800-273-8255. If you know someone struggling, reach out.

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