President Donald Trump has repeatedly linked mental illness and violent video games to the perpetration of mass shootings, but are his claims backed up by science?

Medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio on Thursday that the president and others' claims are not rooted in facts, and take away the culpability from the people who actually commit the acts of violence.

"There's not much evidence that we've got we have more mentally ill people meandering around here than they do in other places, so that association doesn't make any sense. And there's no evidence that mental illness — most mental illness anyway, doesn't lead to violence," Caplan said. "But what it does, when you start talking about video games and mental illness, you're taking away responsibility for someone who says, 'I'm going to buy these weapons and go out in the name of stopping the invasion of immigrants, I'm going to shoot up a place.' That seems to me to be planned, deliberate, thought through, and accountable."

In a 2018 report on 63 active shooter assailants, the FBI found that 25 percent had been diagnosed with a mental illness, roughly matching the instances of mental illness in the general population.

Caplan said the claim linking violent video games to violence in real life is an attempt to look for blame in the wrong place.

"Video games, it's interesting. If Trump and other people who are echoing the call to go after video games to avoid any serious confrontation with the easy availability of guns and weapons that have the ability to cause mass casualties, let's call them war-level weapons, taking this dodge, this phony out, there's nothing stopping people from doing something about video games," Caplan said. "More to the point, the industry knows there's no link between their games and their mass shootings. The biggest violent gamers in the world are probably in Japan and Korea, and they do have a problem with video games: it's addiction. It's not mass shootings."