NRA releases “Practice Range” game, has never heard of irony

By: Tom Westerholm

Look, I’m not going to wade into the whole guns vs. no guns debate. For one thing, it’s very controversial and for another, I am in no way qualified to speak on the subject. But irony? Irony I understand. And this is pretty hilarious.

You may recall this section of NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s speech after the Sandy Hook tragedy:

The violence in the entertainment culture—particularly, with the extraordinary realism to video games, movies now, et cetera —does cause vulnerable young men to be more violent…Doesn’t make everybody more violent, but it’s a causative factor in some cases.

In light of those comments, here’s this from ABC News:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a “Practice Range” Shooting App for iOS, according to Apple’s App Store description. The app combines the NRA’s facts and educational materials with a 3-D shooting game.

Yep. The NRA is creating their own shooting video game.

Now admittedly, the irony is tempered a bit by the fact that this is a “practice range” game. You aren’t shooting real people. Rather, you aim your gun at human shaped targets, read some security tips, and blast away.

I downloaded this game to see if it made me feel like a raging, gun-crazy lunatic. Here’s what I found:

  • The game is very eager to tell you about gun safety programs. “Fact #4: The NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has reached more than 25 million children – in all 50 states – since 1998” I was informed as my game loaded. Directly below the ad was the clickable link to “Start shooting!”
  • I’m very unsafe/bad at shooting guns. But there is a leaderboard available, should I want to post my 15% accuracy somewhere on the internet for public ridicule.
  • This game, however, didn’t teach me that I’m bad at shooting guns. Somehow, tilting my iPad and touching the screen just didn’t give that full adrenaline rush that pumping round after round into a human shaped target in real life brings.
  • Indoor guns are handguns. Outdoor guns are automatic. I know this because the starting gun for the outdoor range (yes, you CAN level up eventually in this game) is an M16. For those of you who don’t know your video game guns, that is this thing. http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/images/1289112556.jpg
  • A list of gun safety tips from this handy app: Use only the correct ammo for your gun. Be sure the gun is safe to operate (oh). Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. And my personal favorite: Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Hear that, Dick Cheney?

Here’s the problem with this game from a logistically for the NRA: I played it, and I have no more or less interest in purchasing a gun than I did before. In fact, I feel exactly the same. Doesn’t this mean that the NRA’s hypothesis that video games are the reason behind the shootings is incorrect?

No, it doesn’t thanks La Pierre’s clever wording. “It doesn’t make EVERYBODY more violent.” I must be one of the lucky few.

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2 thoughts on “NRA releases “Practice Range” game, has never heard of irony

  1. Wow, these guys seem pretty hypocritical to me – condemning violent video games one moment, releasing their own the next. And to me, all the safety messages feels like they’re trying to tiptoe around the issue. If they were truly concerned about keeping guns away from “vulnerable young men,” they wouldn’t be releasing an app targeted right at that demographic.

  2. Athena Grace says:

    It’s not Ironic, it’s not killing anyone. Since when is shooting targets/guns considered violent? The only thing violent about shooting a gun is the force in witch it slams into your shoulder.

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