- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

“The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world,” the association said.

The National Rifle Association put the focus on entertainment after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting rampage last month when Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, said a degraded culture was a bigger problem than access to firearms.

“In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of every month of every year,” Mr. LaPierre said in a widely anticipated speech. “A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.”

The NRA didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The top gun lobby came under fire for an ad accusing Mr. Obama of being an “elite hypocrite” because his daughters are protected full time by Secret Service agents carrying guns — a benefit most Americans don’t have.

The NRA has called for adding armed guards to every school as a solution to shooting sprees like the one at Sandy Hook.

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the NRA ad cowardly.

“Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” he said. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Outside of Capitol Hill, some states are already acting.

New York lawmakers enacted stiff gun laws this week, and a Republican legislator in Missouri proposed a tax on violent video games.

Plenty of research has been conducted on the effects of violent movies and video games, and there are few firm conclusions.

In fact, one group of researchers argues that blockbuster movies can decrease violence — at least in the very short term. The researchers said people with a tendency toward violence end up going to the movies, which keeps them off the streets and away from opportunities for violence.

They calculated that violent movies can deter 1,000 assaults on an average weekend.

David Sherfinski contributed to this report.