There seems to be a commonality among most if not all of the recent gun-using mass murderers: (1) serious, clinical mental illness, (2) recent gun purchases, and (3) intensive, violent video gaming.
This isn’t a perfect predictor, but I bet it’d be very close. Sure, Nidal Malik Hasan might not fit the gamer mold, but Harris and Klibold, Holmes, and Lanza did. Triangulating among these three criteria might give society a clearer picture of who is likely to commit these heinous crimes.
Therefore, I propose that the federal government mandate the registration of all existing and future video game devices and game modules, who bought them, who has access to them, what games were purchased, etc. Bring ’em in, get them registered.
New consoles must be manufactured with unique serial numbers, and every new copy of a game should have its own unique serial number embedded in the code. Console and games must be electronically enabled so only that game can be used on that console. It’s probably a good idea that gamers should be allowed to purchase only one game per month. Every vendor of video games shall collect and remit this information for each new device and game module sold, and be responsible for enabling the game to the console.
Purchasers and all potential users of the consoles and games shall be fingerprinted and ID’d, and their information kept on file with the federal government (I suggest the DOE do this, not HHS.) This information shall be electronically accessible in instant database form to all federal, state, and local law enforcement as well as to participating physicians in ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other federal or state health or welfare program.
This gaming database can be crosschecked with the existing FBI “NICS” database used in all retail gun purchases. If — and likely when — a background check is mandated for all guns transactions, retail, wholesale, and private, this crosscheck will give a useful signal to potential mass murderers.
These programs are required but not sufficient. The crucial third component should be mandatory reporting by all health providers, mental health counselors, and school officials of serious, dangerous, clinical psychiatric conditions which in their opinion makes their patients a danger to themselves or others. It should be made law, too, that health providers ask all their patients if the play video games, how often, which titles, etc., and this information should be entered into the patient’s electronic health records and made accessible to all federal, state, and local law enforcement.
Cross-tabbing these three databases, I believe, will be a massive step towards reducing mass murder by crazy people with access to guns, and a quantum leap in keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.