The National Rifle Association (NRA) has drawn criticism for releasing a new smart phone application containing a “mini-game” which allows players to virtually shoot objects – among them, coffin-shaped targets with “kill shot” markings.
“NRA: Practice Range,” available as a free iPhone and iPad download, has been scrutinized for a litany of reasons, including its release date – Jan. 14, exactly one month after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. The app, originally deemed suitable for ages four and up, was re-rated after a media backlash. The software now is listed as suitable for players ages 12 and older, with an advisory on the application’s iTunes page warning of “frequent/intense realistic violence.”
For $0.99, players that download the application can access supplemental firearms, among them, several semi-automatic sniper rifles.
In a news conference last month, NRA executive vice resident Wayne LaPierre criticized the video game industry, stating “isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
According to a description by application publisher MEDL Mobile, Inc., the app is a “3D shooting game that instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations,” while additionally striking “the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.”