Controversy over US National Rifle Association's shooting game

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2013, 4:11am


The US National Rifle Association, which blames video games in part for mass shootings, triggered controversy after coming out with its own shooting game for iPhones and iPads.

NRA: Practice Range, is billed as "the NRA's new mobile nerve centre" with access to information about gun safety, legislation and news from the influential 4.25 million-member US gun lobby group.

But its main features are shooting ranges - some with vaguely coffin-shaped targets - and a choice of handguns, rifles and shotguns, including the type of assault rifle used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre last month. Players have one minute to pick off as many targets as possible, then post their scores on a leader board open to all.

"Is this some kind of sick joke?" wrote one customer in the review section of the game's App Store page. "The NRA complains about violent games and then releases one a week later.

"Sure you're not shooting at humans but does it really matter? F***ing ridiculous."

But in a reflection of how guns divide Americans, others gave the app five-star reviews.

"Freaking awesome," wrote one satisfied customer. Another added: "Better hurry and download this before they take it away from us."

As news of the game spread, an online petition was launched on SignOn.org urging Apple chief executive Tim Cook to withdraw the app, which is rated as appropriate for youngsters as young as four years old.

"In no way is this shameless and disrespectful product appropriate for children even younger than the Sandy Hook victims," said the petition, which gathered close to 300 signatures in one afternoon.