The National Rifle Association marked the one-month anniversary of the Newtown massacre by releasing a target-practice app that features coffin-shaped targets.
This latest hypocrisy from the gun industry lobbying group comes after NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said that “guns don’t kill people. Videogames, the media and Obama’s budget kill people.”
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, the NRA blamed everything but guns, including violent videogames. However, while Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) blasted the shooting game as “insensitive,” it should really not be surprising that they released “NRA: Practice Range,” which is free on Apple’s iTunes store and rated age 4 and up.
The New York Times recently reported on “how the firearms and videogame industries have quietly forged a mutually beneficial marketing relationship.” According the story, videogame developers and publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision have partnered with gun manufacturers, many of whom are the biggest financial backers of the NRA. For “Medal of Honor Warfighter,” EA created a website promoting their gun manufacturer partners used in the game, including the McMillan Group, makers of a high-powered sniper rifle, and Magpul, maker of high-capacity magazines. Activision’s “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2” features Bushmaster assault-style rifles — Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle on his rampage.
So while studies have shown no correlation between videogame violence and real violence, having easy access to real versions of the weapons featured in videogames does cause real violence, something the NRA fails to acknowledge in its morally reprehensible defense of military-style assault weapons.
But the NRA is losing support on the issue of assault weapons, as two new polls demonstrate a majority of Americans support a ban on assault weapons — 55 percent of Pew respondents and 58 percent of Washington Post/ABC News respondents back a federal ban on assault weapons.
With the NRA fiercely defending military-style assault weapons and fighting tooth and nail against sensible gun laws such as mandatory background checks, which 74 percent of their four million members (a small fraction of the 90 million gun owners in the United States) support, and now with the gun industry lobbying group releasing a shooting game on the one-month anniversary of Newtown, are Americans starting to turn against them?
“It’s outrageous. The NRA never seems to be able to amaze me,” Joel Faxon, a member of Newtown’s Police Commission, told CNN.
UPDATE: New York Times op-ed columnist and former executive editor Bill Keller writes that the videogame could be a hoax, although the NRA has not disowned the app, which is now rated age 12 and up.