President Donald Trump implied his support Monday for increased regulation of video games and monitoring of the Internet, which he suggested were catalysts for mass shootings.
Two mass shootings left 29 people dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend.
Trump did not address potential gun control legislation in his 10-minute speech, though he said earlier on Twitter that he is looking at strengthening background checks for gun purchases.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said in his prepared remarks at the White House.
“This includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately.” (RELATED: Federal Prosecutors Are Treating El Paso Shooting As Domestic Terrorism, Possible Hate Crime)
Despite Trump’s calls for regulation of video games, research on a potential link to violence is mixed. A 2015 study in the American Psychological Association found insufficient evidence that video games lead to violence. The Atlantic noted over the weekend that numerous other studies have failed to prove a causal link between video games and shootings.
Trump also said that he has directed the Justice Department to work with local law enforcement agencies and social media companies to identify potential mass shooters before they strike.
“We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet and stop mass murders before they start. The Internet likewise is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution and so many other heinous crimes,” he said.
“The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.”
Patrick Crusius, 21, was arrested and charged in the El Paso shooting. Crusius allegedly entered a Walmart armed with a rifle and began shooting customers at random.
Investigators are looking into whether Crusius is the author of a four-page manifesto posted to the website 8chan that railed against “the Hispanic invasion” and touted white supremacist ideology.
Sites like 8chan and 4chan have been criticized as hotbeds of violent and extremist rhetoric.
Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy” in his speech Monday, and called for federal death penalty charges in violent hate crime cases.
“Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul,” he said.
U.S. Attorney John Bash said Sunday that prosecutors are weighing hate crime charges against Crusius, as well as capital murder charges.
Less is known about the motives of the Dayton shooter, who has been identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts.
Betts opened fire around 1 a.m. Sunday morning outside of a night club in Dayton’s entertainment district. Some news outlets have reported that Betts has posted on social media that he is liberal. He was killed by police.
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