On Dec. 21, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed the monstrous actions of Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, not on mental illness or easy access to a vast array of firearms, but on violent video games and movies (along with several other culprits). People don’t kill people, and neither do guns, according to LaPierre and the NRA. It’s what you play and watch that drives you to violence. Just as LaPierre called for armed police officers and security guards to be placed in every school across the United States – a strategy that proved woefully ineffective during the Columbine massacre in 1999 – he also called on the federal government to reign in violent media. How strange then that the NRA felt the need to release its very own first-person shooter.
NRA: Practice Range for iPhone and iPad was released on Sunday on the Apple App Store. The free game is “The National Rifle Association’s new mobile nerve center, delivering one-touch access to the NRA network of laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resources.” Its chief mode, however, is a target shooting game that has you pointing and aiming a rifle at targets on an open range or with a pistol at human sized targets on a shooting range.
You can also pay money for additional guns like an AK-47 or an MK-11 sniper rifle.
When it was first posted on Sunday, as noted by The Atlantic, the game was rated for ages 4 and up. As of this writing on Tuesday, the rating has been raised to ages 12 and up. According to the NRA it is perfectly appropriate for a 12-year-old to be taught how to handle an AK-47.
The NRA has released a number of branded video games in the past, including the Crave Entertainment-developed National Rifle Association Gun Club for PlayStation 2, a game that the ESRB rated for ages 10 and up. Of course there’s also NRA Varmint Hunter for PC.
It’s bad enough that LaPierre and the NRA are willing to brush aside the inherent problems of a culture obsessed with gun ownership, willing to blame murder not on human beings but media, but the NRA is grotesquely hypocritical as to release their own video game less than a month after their backward public statement.