NRA Releases iOS Game

The National Rife Association has released an app for iOS systems called ‘NRA: Practice Range’. Developed by MEDL Mobile, it is a simple game in which you practice shooting targets with guns either outside or in a shooting range. You unlock more guns as you earn more money. It has been widely criticised, seeing as how it was released on the one-month anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It carried a 4+ rating at launch, but has since been changed to have a 12+ rating.

The game is not particularly violent. You shoot at inanimate targets instead of people and it’s more of a sports game than anything else. But violence does not seem to be the main problem with it. Worryingly this seems to be more of an advert for the NRA than anything else. Their logo is plastered over all the menu backgrounds and worrying ‘facts’ pop up on loading screens. These take the form of either gun safety tips (“Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot”) or NRA propaganda (“The NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has reached more than 25 million children – in all 50 states – since 1998”). It all seems to be gearing American children up to join the NRA when they’re older. Would the NRA do something like that? Surely that’s unthinkable!

The game has also been criticised for its hypocrisy. Last month, following the Sandy Hook shooting, NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre had this to say:

“And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bullet Storm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, and Splatterhouse.”

While Practice Range is nowhere near as violent as something like Mortal Kombat, it still seems completely hypocritical to attack video games and then release one yourself. Besides, some of the video games LaPierre mentions are based in fantasy worlds. In real life you can’t use an energy whip or beam sword, and you certainly can’t rip someone’s spine out with your bare hands. It could be argued that Grand Theft Auto glorifies violent crime in a realistic way, but Practice Range is something you could actually do in real life: go to an NRA shooting range. But what do you guys think? Is the NRA perfectly justified in what it does? Or is this just a ploy to get more members?

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