School shoot-out spurs debate to ban violent PC games

A long-simmering debate in Germany about banning violent computer games is burning again after an aloof teenager on Monday stormed his former high school, shot five people and later killed himself.

The disgruntled 18-year ex-pupil from Emsdetten, Germany, near the Dutch border, was described by students and teachers as a youth with no friends who liked guns and played violent computer shooting games.

The incident brought back memories of a shooting rampage in the eastern German city of Erfurt in 2002 when an alienated former pupil — and computer games player — shot 16 people, mostly teachers, and later himself.

It has also rekindled the simmering debate in Germany on whether violent computer games should be banned.

“The government is currently reviewing whether the current legislation for protecting minors needs to be revised and plans to announce its finding by the end of 2007,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. “The Emsdetten shootings will likely impact these discussions.”

Family Affairs Minister Ursula von der Leyen addressed the German parliament earlier on Tuesday and has been holding talks with policy makers throughout the day, the ministry spokesman said.

The minister is expected to make a public announcement later in the evening.

Numerous politicians have expressed outrage over the school shootings and continued access to violent PC games.

Brandenburg state Interior Minister J

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