FX president John Landgraf says he is very interested in learning more about any links between onscreen and real-life violence, but said access to guns is the main reason violence is so prevalent in the United States. He also said he is wary of first-person shooter games and doesn't allow them in his home.
Landgraf spoke Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where for the last several days critics have peppered networks with questions about whether they will change their programming in light of the mass shootings in Newtown, Mass. and elsewhere. The National Rifle Association has said violence in movies and videogames is a large reason for the killings.
All executives and producers have said at TCA that they are conscious and careful about the violence they present. But Landgraf went into the most detail about what he sees as the causes of gun violence.
Saying he believes "very strongly in the first amendment and second amendment," Landgraf said he wants to see more research about whether entertainment inspires real-life violence, and that he believes executives should respond to those studies.
But he said he believes guns are the main problem. He noted that the United States has a far higher rate of gun violence than the United Kingdom, where people absorb the same shows and movies.
"If you want to look at the major difference between England and the U.S., it's access and availability of guns," he said.
He also said he has followed courtroom testimony about the shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., specifically the fact that the shooter was at one point able to fire about once per second.
"You can't do that with a pump action shotgun," he said. "You just can't create that kind of mayhem if you have to reload."
He also said he does not allow his three sons to play first-person shooter games at home. He said his 15-year-old son has played the games at friends' homes, and reported back that he found them disturbing.
Landgraf said he feels that there is a difference between watching "third-person" shows in which someone else kills people, and first-person games in which you are the killer.