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Smoking Gun: The Deplorable and Profitable Relationship Between Firearms Manufacturers and Video Game Industry

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At the Electronic Entertaining Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this week, the video game industry will be talking about Xbox One, the hottest new devices, and what will be the next Halo. But some folks are hoping to get the industry's attention on something else: guns.

A report released today by advocacy groups Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Gun Truth Project, points out that video games are being used as a form of advertising for gun brands, and is calling to put an end to the practice.
The report, "Game Over: Resetting the Relationship Between Video Game and Gun Manufacturers," details how video games use realistic images of brand-name guns in order to make the game as realistic as possible, which sometimes means entering into licensing deals with the gun manufacturers. The gun makers make money off these deals, and manufacturers said gamers "are considered potential future owners."
"In some cases, money has been exchanged to secure product placement or legal rights," states the report. "In one scenario, video game product launches have been tied to online marketplaces for customers to purchase weapons used in the game."
The groups claim this commercial relationship promotes the gun industry and sparks young people's imagination in a dangerous way, which could lead to more gun violence in America.
Last month, one major video game publisher, Electronic Arts, announced it would end licensing deals, though it will still feature branded weapons. Now the advocacy groups are asking that other major video game publishers follow suit.
“We are outraged that video game companies and gun manufacturers are entering into deals to market guns to our children," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in a statement. "Particularly given the real-life epidemic of gun violence in America.”
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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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