Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin doesn’t think guns are to blame for the mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday that left 17 people dead.
Instead, the Republican governor believes American children are being exposed to far too many violent video games, movies and TV shows. It’s these forms of entertainment, Bevin suggested, that need to be restricted.
“We need to have an honest conversation as to what should and should not be allowed in the United States as it relates to the things being put in the hands of our young people,” he told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday.
Bevin emphasized that although he supports the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech, the content in some entertainment has “zero redemptive value.”
“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment and right to free speech, but there are certain things that are so graphic as it relates to violence, and things that are so pornographic on a whole another front that we allow to pass under the guise of free speech, which arguably are,” Bevin said.
“But there is zero redemptive value. There is zero upside to any of this being in the public domain, let alone in the minds and hands and homes of our young people.”
Bevin has long been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, arguing that restricting access to guns won’t prevent mass shootings.
“You can’t regulate evil,” he tweeted following the Las Vegas shooting last year.
Bevin noted Thursday that when he was a student in New England, some children would bring their guns to school. Still, mass shootings were never a problem.
“Sometimes they’d be in kids’ lockers,” Bevin said. “Nobody even thought about shooting other people with them. So it’s not a gun problem.”
The spree of school shootings, he suggested, is rooted in a cultural problem — one that’s only gotten worse with the rise of violent entertainment.
“Go back before any of this existed,” Bevin said. “How many children walked into other schools and slaughtered other children? What more evidence do you need? The people who say there is no evidence are full of crap.”
In a video posted to his Facebook page on Thursday night, Bevin elaborated on the problem, and said that those who create various forms of entertainment content need to “figure out how to try to repair this fabric of America that’s getting shredded beyond recognition.”
“Our culture is crumbling from within, and the cost of it is high,” Bevin said. “All of you, we’ve got to step up. We’re the adults — let’s act like it. Let’s step forward. Let’s start a conversation.”
He also called on Congress, the president, his fellow governors and anyone else “in a position of influence” to address this problem.
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