NRA targets iPhone with shooting game

Following the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and the NRA's defensive posture, the group has unveiled its own target shooting game.

NRA: Practice Range
NRA: Practice Range Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The National Rifle Association has launched a mobile shooting game amid furor over gun violence.

NRA: Practice Range is designed for iPhone and iPad users who want a little virtual target practice. The free game offers a variety of handguns and rifles that you can use to shoot at targets indoors or outdoors. Simply pick your weapon of choice and then tap the screen to fire at the targets.

The indoor level is easiest as the targets don't move, while the two outdoor levels require you to shoot at skeets and other moving targets.

The launch of the app may seem ill-timed at best and hypocritical at worst given the nation's current mindset over guns and the NRA's recent response.

The app was officially released on Sunday, almost one month after the December 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Following an initial week of silence after the shootings, NRA President Wayne Lapierre finally spoke out on December 21.

In his press conference, Lapierre placed part of the blame for the shootings on violent video games, calling their makers a "callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people."

Less than a month later, we have NRA: Practice Range.

To be fair, NRA: Practice Range can't truly be classified as a violent video game. You're not on a mission to mow down scores of human beings. You're actually shooting at stationary and moving targets as you would at any shooting range.

You start off with simple handguns and rifles, though you can pay extra to use an AK-47 assault rifle or an MK11 sniper rifle.

The NRA is also using the app to spread its message about gun safety. As you move from one scenario to another, the game flashes safety tips for actual gun owners.

But the NRA also squeezes in some of its own "facts" regarding gun ownership, all designed to take some of the heat off the group as more people call for stricter gun laws.

This isn't the NRA's first mobile app. The group offers an informational app simply called NRA. Another app called NRA Gun Guide is geared toward gun buyers who want help choosing the right weapon.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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