Petition Urges Apple To Remove NRA Shooting App From App Store
Apple caught a lot of flack from political leadership and customers alike following the Jan. 14 launch of “NRA: Practice Range” in the App Store. The app, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, just so happened to release on the one-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting massacre. Almost 3,400 people have signed a petition on Signon.org urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to pull the game from the App Store.
“Apple: The National Rifle Association’s new app ‘NRA: Practice Range’ is an insult to the victims of gun violence, having been launched on the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting,” the petition states. “Out of respect for the victims and to signal Apple’s support for common sense measures to help end gun violence, we call on you to rescind your approval of this shameless new product.”
Apple already bowed to public pressure by updating the app’s age rating from 4+ to 12+ based on perceived violent content. Although Sen. Chuck Shumer (D-NY) has pressed Apple to raise the age recommendation to 17+, he called Apple’s move a “step in the right direction.”
In fact, Shumer and other New York politicians have pointed to the distasteful nature of the apps release date coinciding with the first-month anniversary of Sandy Hook. They have also focused on NRA chief Wayne LaPierre’s hypocrisy in sponsoring the game after he blamed video games—not guns—for the December massacre in Newtown, Conn.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Of course the NRA’s timing could have been better, but the app itself is pretty tame when compared to many others available in the Apple App Store. Unlike most first-person shooter games, the action in “NRA: Practice Range” takes place at a firing range with no living targets. Users can choose from a variety of firearms—including the gun used at Sandy Hook—but gun safety tips pop up throughout gameplay. Any violence in this game pales in comparison to other offerings such as Kindergarten Killer, Splatterhouse and Grand Theft Auto. As one CNET reader posted, “The game is no more violent than Duck Hunt.”
Would the app have sparked as much controversy if it weren’t sponsored by the NRA? Say the same game released Jan. 14 under the abbreviated title, “Practice Range,” would anyone have taken notice? If Apple bows to public pressure will it be a first step toward curbing violence in video games? Or simply a stab at a conservative group that refuses to compromise with its liberal opponents?
I want more stuff like this!