NRA releases free target-practice app—for ages 4 and up

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

The National Rifle Association, exactly a month after the shooting at Newtown, Conn., appears to have released a branded target shooting game deemed suitable for kids ages 4 and up.

The NRA has been highly critical of the video game industry following the elementary school shooting in Newtown that left 26 dead and sparked a national debate about guns and school safety.

"NRA: Practice Range," available free in the iTunes app store, allows players to shoot at coffin-shaped targets in indoor or outdoor settings. For $.99 extra, players can upgrade their gun to a pistol grip Mossberg or a semi-automatic sniper rifle.

The game says it is a licensed product of the NRA, but the gun lobby did not return multiple requests for comment from Yahoo News asking to confirm that the game is indeed theirs.

According to the description on iTunes, the game is intended to instill "safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations." And because it contains "no objectionable material," per iTunes' rating system, it's suitable for children as young as 4. Apple employees vet applications before they are included in the store and approve age ranges for games.

[LIVE CHAT: Join Yahoo News at 12:30 p.m. ET today to discuss gun violence and weapons laws]

In between shooting, the game also dispenses gun safety advice, like to wear protective eye gear.

The NRA, the nation's largest gun lobby, has met with the White House as the president mulls implementing more comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and the banning of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles, among other proposals.

The game's timing has sparked some backlash. The New York Daily News, for one, writes in its cover story Tuesday morning that the game "spits on the graves" of Newtown victims. Neither the NRA, nor the app's developer, returned a request for comment.