If this app is, in fact, an unlicensed kind of hoax using the NRA acronym without permission, you'd think the NRA might want to squash the brand association quickly. Despite the gun lobby's slow response to the Newtown massacre, the NRA isn't afraid of issuing cease and desists or suing President Obama, the District of Columbia, or the Department of Justice.
What's more, as ArsTechnica's Kyl Orland points out, the NRA's earlier efforts at officially licensed video games have been successful in the lobby's seemingly unending efforts to the turn gun-violence debate away from guns and toward other industries accused of stoking violence. Orland writes:
So Practice Range fits right into the NRA's arguments about video games' insidious effects on our society. "There's nothing wrong with guns in video games per se," the organization seems to be saying; "the problem is the way those guns are used by most of the big-money game industry in service of ultra-violent revenge fantasies. If only the game industry could use its immense influence and power to promote responsible, safe use of guns, as we have with our humble app, the world might be a different place!"
If the app isn't the NRA's, then the app and the controversy surrounding it would seem to present an opportune time for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre to hammer home his point about violence in video games. In his notorious post-Newtown press conference, LaPierre in the days following blamed the gaming industry for mass violence:
And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.
The video-game industry has been reeling as it struggles to put together a lobbying defense of its own. Of course, all these theories would be moot if the app is indeed the NRA's. As of today, the app is still up in the iTunes Store.
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