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New 'Practice Range' app says it's from NRA, which blamed video games for violence

NRA: Practice Range / MEDL MOBILE

Users of the "NRA: Practice Range" iOS app are taken to target practice, as seen in this screen shot.

Just weeks after the National Rifle Association forcefully blamed violent video games for gun violence, a new shooter game is out that appears to be from the NRA.

 

"NRA: Practice Range" was released Sunday in iTunes, the Apple-run site.

It features a 3D-shooting range and offers users simulated target practice. It isn’t clear what connection the NRA has to the app, which is described as an "Official NRA Licensed Product" on iTunes. NBC News has reached out to the organization for comment but has yet to receive a response.

The game's launch comes one month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which touched off a national debate over how to limit gun violence.

 

“Guns don’t kill people. Video games, the media and Obama’s budget kill people,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a Dec. 21 press conference where he addressed the tragedy at Sandy Hook. "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 ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’”

The free app was initially recommended for ages 4 and up, according to the iTunes rating system, but later Monday was recommended for 12 and up.

The site said it offered "a 3D shooting game that instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations.” The app description added, "It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.”

Users don’t shoot live subjects in the app, but instead are given guns and sent to target practice in three immersive shooting ranges. 

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the National Rifle Association held a news conference in Washington, D.C, blaming the media and video games for cultivating a culture of violence.

The description in iTunes says it puts the NRA’s “broad scope of resources in the palm of your hand – with 2nd Amendment newsfeeds, gun law information centers and educational materials that you can access anywhere, anytime.”

The app has received three-and-a-half out of five stars in the iTunes store, but has attracted several scathing customer reviews, some calling for it to be pulled from the iTunes store.

 

“Is this some kind of sick joke?” asked one user known as Papershipsonfire. “The NRA complains about violent games and then releases one a week later. Sure you’re not shooting humans but does it really matter?”

“What a dumb move,” posted Mansonr6. “Good luck getting anyone to take your video game theory serious after this.”

But others praised the educational content offered in the game.

“This is fun and informative plus there is no need for eye and ear protection,” wrote Joe in BrynMawr. “A must have for any gun enthusiast and defender of the U.S. constitution.”

Last week, after a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden’s gun reform task force, the NRA slammed the White House.

"It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems," the NRA said in a statement. "We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."

Editor’s note: The headine and story have been amended to reflect the fact that the NRA has not acknowledged the new app was launched by the organization.

 

NRA: Practice Range / MEDL MOBILE

For 99 cents, users can upgrade their firearm from a free M9 to a Beretta, a Browning or a Colt in the app, which offers indoor, outdoor and skeet shooting modes.