Exactly one month ago today, 20 children and six adults were gunned down in a Connecticut elementary school. Since that day, the National Rifle Association has laid the blame on video games and simulated violence, amongst other things. In a seemingly hypocritical move, on the one month anniversary of Adam Lanza’s attack on Sandy Hook, the NRA has released an app that offers users the ability to target practice. The virtual guns are aimed at coffin-shaped targets, with bulls-eyes at the heart and head vicinity.
While the NRA has blamed video games, not guns, on recent mass murders, the gun lobby’s release of its app, “NRA: Practice Range,” has sparked controversy. The app is described as “a network of news, laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resource.” The NRA maintains that it “instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations.”
One realistic simulation: allowing players to shoot coffin-shaped targets. And for an additional 99 cents, shooters can upgrade to a MK11 sniper rifle.
ThinkProgress labels this move as “hypocritical,” and notes its not the first move like it the NRA has made. In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the NRA has blamed violence on gun-related media. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the NRA’s “Hollywood Gun Exhibit” is still open and advertised. The exhibit shows off a variety of guns used in film by both the bad guy and the good guys.
The NRA has maintained that video games are harmful and the cause of mass violence. However, ThinkProgress notes that the group has yet to stop licensing images of their products for use in films and video games. The exhibit celebrates the weapons used by a variety of film villains such as the weapon Heath Ledger handled as the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises.
Although the NRA can verbally blame video games for violence, video game companies cannot make violent games without the consent of the NRA: Gun manufacturers sign contracts allowing gaming companies to use firearm brand names in video games as methods of product promotion.
Despite all this, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre maintains that guns are not the problem. The problem, he says, is the “cultural glorification of gun violence, especially in video games.” Video games which the NRA allegedly signs off, and — with the recent app and museum exhibit — promote.
What do you think about the relationship that the NRA has with video game and movie violence?