A new target practice iTunes app released Sunday by the National Rifle Association, and recommended for children as young as four, has added fuel to the national gun debate.
NRA: Practice Range, available as a free download, offers Apple iPhone and iPad users a shooting-practice feature, tips on safety training, and a state-by-state gun law database.
The game "instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations," according to the description. "It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible."
Users can choose between three gameplay modes: indoor range, outdoor range, and skeet shoot, where they take aim at coffin-shaped targets. Players can also upgrade to a more powerful weapon for 99 cents. According to the iTunes ratings system, the app is appropriate for users who are at least 4-years-old because it contains "no objectionable material."
speculates that the game was able to get by with its 4+ rating because the guns in the game are aimed at non-living targets rather than living, breathing animals or bad guys.
Practice Range has sparked outrage on the Internet, with many people offended that the app was released so close to the one-month anniversary of the Newtown school shooting.
"When 20 children and six adults were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School exactly one month ago today, the National Rifle Association rushed to blame video games, not guns, for inspiring such mass murders," wrote Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress on Jan. 14. "But the gun lobby seemingly lost sight of its target in the past weeks, and over the weekend released a shooting app, called 'NRA: Practice Range.'"
Many are also calling the NRA hypocritical after it slammed the White House during Vice President Joe Biden's gun reform task force meeting last week for its "agenda to attack the Second Amendment" and video games for "the marketing of violence to our kids." NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre even spoke out during a December press conference against media-depicted violence.
"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people," LaPierre said. "And then they have the nerve to call it 'entertainment.' But is that what it really is? Isn't fantasizing about killing people as away to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?"
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