The proposed boycott comes in response to an internal memo from Walmart directing store employees to remove displays featuring video games with violent content from stores. The directive came after three mass shootings in just over one week. These shootings claimed the lives of 36 people and injured 60. The main argument behind the calls for a boycott is that Walmart is showing a lack of commitment to the safety of their customers by removing displays of violent media while continuing to sell firearms which are actually used to commit violence.
The tragedy of these killings has renewed the debate over potential legislation restricting access to guns in the United States.
Advocates in favor of restrictions propose
- measures like universal nationwide background checks for firearms purchases
- assault weapons bans
- bans on certain modifications which make weapons especially deadly
Opponents of these measures are claiming that it is wrong to propose them so soon after these events. They believe it somehow disrespects the victims of these shootings. They also believe that current restrictions are sufficient to prevent these types of events.
Gun control opponents are also, once again, blaming video games for causing gun violence.
The gaming community has clamorously pushed back against these claims. Studies of games show a clear causal link between games and violence. Gaming communities are known to perform public service. People are sharing stories about how games and the communities around gaming positivity affect their lives. When the news of Walmart’s memo came in the middle of this gaming community defense, the reaction was quite boisterous.
So who’s planning on skipping that next trip to Walmart out there?
Stephen Krusel, known as Sven Kroosl to some, has played video and tabletop games since 1987 and has written about the gaming industry since 2008. He has yet to be convinced that Final Fantasy Tactics is not the pinnacle of gaming.