Winning a small battle for gun rights is great, but do you know what’s better?
Properly securing the right to keep and bear arms by ensuring future generations recognize its importance.
Exposing people to firearms is the key to curing fear, misconceptions, or ignorance surrounding guns.
Getting someone to the range can often help generate a little interest in firearms that often expands.
Just a little interest can be watered and be made to grow and expand. The real question is, how do we get those new shooters that droplet of interest?
Well, what if I told you video games might be the answer?
Today, we’re looking at the impact video games have on gun culture and whether gamers are the future of gun rights.
Table of Contents
Life and Times with Video Games
I grew up in a family of hunters. I grew up around guns but didn’t have much interest in them as a younger kid.
Even though we had guns, shooting sports and even plinking rarely occurred in my home. Guns were more or less utilized as tools. That was about it.
Around the time I turned 10, something interesting happened.
I learned how to save money, and the PlayStation 1 had a massive price drop.
Prior to that, my video game exposure was low because my parents really didn’t believe in them.
Once I had a PS1, I immediately purchased a copy of Syphon Filter 2. SF2 was a third-person shooter that utilized real weapons.
The game came with a little manual, and the manual detailed the weapons in the game. You could read the weapon’s name and a short paragraph about it.
I was captured, and quickly shooting games became my go-to.
The manuals drew me in and eventually lead me to gun magazines. Gun magazines lead me to want a gun and want to shoot.
I was granted a semi-auto .22 LR for my 13th birthday, and after that, I was off to the races.
My interest in guns and gaming grew. As a gun-slinging gamer, I’m still tickled when games feature real weapons, accessories, and more.
Do Video Games Cause Violence?
Shorter answer? No, video games, even violent video games, do not cause violence.
Studies from American universities like Harvard and Virginia Tech as well as international universities like Oxford show there is no connection between playing violent video games and committing real acts of violence.
Some of you may bring up a study from 1993 that states that violent video games make players more aggressive when played.
That’s true, but sports like football also create aggression while played.
Speaking of football, the CTEs caused by tackles has created more violence than Doom.
Why Are Video Games Good For Gun Culture
A cursory search of people posting on Reddit’s r/guns shows tons of new gun owners pretty much all the time.
A common thread through many of these posts is a reference to a video game aiding their choice in weapon selection.
Be it Call of Duty and a CZ Scorpion or a Uberti Colt clone from Red Dead Redemption. The thread between video games and guns is a tight one.
Modern video games have largely moved away from unrealistic fantasy guns, at least in shooters based in reality.
It’s no longer generic assault rifles, generic SMG, generic pistol, etc.
For every Doom Eternal filled with crazy guns, a half dozen games exist rocking real guns with real accessories.
Video games are all fantasy and often represent a world that’s impossible to access in real life.
Thank god, because imagine if every plumber had Mario-like adventures. You would never get your pipes fixed.
When video games use realistic and accessible firearms, players are allowed to have a taste of what they are playing with.
After sinking 80 hours into Red Dead Redemption 2, I’ve built a heavy desire for a coach gun.
When video games use real guns with real gun names, an interest is born.
Not only can I personally testify to that via my own experience, but I’ve also had a direct quote from a 14-year-old.
A friend wanted to bring his nephew to shoot and to teach him the basics of firearm safety.
That kid’s eyes lit up.
He was excited he had an opportunity to safely shoot and handle these guns.
My poor Ruger 10/22 didn’t stand a chance, and nor did my ammo supply.
According to my friend, that kid talked about shooting for weeks after and maintained an interest.
He now has his own S&W M&P 15-22, and last time I heard still loves to shoot.
Accessories & Gear
Not only do we see an interest in certain guns, but accessories and configurations too.
Sadly, too many are shocked to see the silly requirements put in place to own a suppressor or a 14.5-inch barreled rifle.
This can plant a seed in their minds that the NFA is silly and should be done away with.
Especially if they have an opportunity to shoot suppressed, they’ll realize that the NFA is ridiculous in rather short order.
There is an undeniable desire for guns and video games to match up in some way or another.
Garand Thumb reviewed the MA37 rifle from Halo, and it’s gathered almost a million views.
A fictional gun review has nearly a million views because it’s from a video game.
Beyond that, FPSRussia probably mixed video games and guns the best.
The guy behind the accent, Kyle, is a gamer and had an eye for what gamers wanted to see.
His videos have tens of millions of views, and he worked with video game companies all the time.
Remember the Call of Duty commercial he was in? Sadly, FPSRussia can no longer handle firearms, but Kyle is a regular on the podcast Pain Killer Already.
Video games can create a spark of interest in firearms and, down-the-road, accessories.
This little bit of interest often easily translates into a real-life interest in firearms. That little spark just needs some tinder and oxygen to create a fire.
When a game like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint features realistic guns as well as optics from EOTech, Aimpoint, Primary Arms, and even accessories like MAWLs, imagination skyrockets.
People use it in the game and want to use it in real life.
Gun ownership can allow that, well, at least a portion of it.
Sports like 3-Gun, 2-Gun, and action shooting sports disciplines could be a good second step.
They combine shooting with rapid movement, challenging targets, and a game-like nature to them. Action shooting helps replicate the world of video games, but in a safe and fun environment.
Sadly, the barrier of entry is a little high gear and gun-wise.
Small local matches are the best places to start. They offer a little easier place to compete without running into pro-level shooters who dominate.
Can Video Games and Guns Be Bad?
They most certainly can! There is no such thing as a free lunch. When it comes to video games and guns, the big thing is safety.
Video games are not teaching the four rules of firearms safety.
Many allow you to point guns at everyone, from bad guys to civilians and even teammates. You can squeeze the trigger without any real-world consequence in the game.
This can lead new shooters to buy that Tavor and then point it around, practicing poor trigger discipline and failing to understand basic firearms handling.
There have been at least three streamers that have “unloaded” a firearm and ND’d into the floor, roof, etc.
How can we mitigate these issues?
Well, on an individual level, you can always teach and reinforce firearms safety.
If you are the gun guy or gal of your group, make it known you are willing to take people to the range but correct bad behavior when you see it.
The world of video games is massive, and it can be an excellent tool to build interest in firearms. It’s a low-key recruiting tool that acts as the spark that can start a fire.
As gun owners, we should take full advantage of video games, help nurture the interest. Don’t be the guy who instantly looks down on gamers when they mention an AUG from Escape From Tarkov.
Gatekeeping does a great job of keeping people on the outside of the gate, but guess what? That will be detrimental to us.
Take the opportunity to teach these new shooters and bring them into our world.