The National Rifle Association's recent release of an App Store game called NRA: Practice Range has stirred up an impressive amount of controversy lately. Supporters and detractors alike are chiming in on the app and an online petition has been started demanding its removal from the App Store.
The reviews in the App Store range from complaints about the bad controls to users praising the gun safety tips.
I checked out the app for myself. As far as first-person shooters go, it's pretty innocuous. There's no blood spurting out from the vaguely humanoid indoor range targets. For the outdoor range, players start with an M16, but they can buy more powerful weapons like AK47s and Dragunov SVDs. The controls are awkward, requiring you to rotate your device around at odd angles. I got motion sickness pretty quickly.
Though the game itself is pretty mild, the emotions and political debates surrounding it are running at a fever pitch in the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Some people question whether it's appropriate for the NRA to release a shooting app in light of the tragedy. NRA President Wayne Lapierre's comments drawing a connection between video game violence and real-life violence have raised the issue of whether the NRA app is hypocritical. Others feel that pulling the app would amount to censorship.
At last check, the petition to pull the app was nearing its 3,000-signature goal. Comments on CNET have been divided, though most seem to be in support of leaving the app alone. Canjunaggie87 writes, " This game is no more violent than Duck Hunt."
How do you feel about NRA: Practice Range? Have you signed the petition, or do you feel the app should stay in the App Store? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.