Your Take: NRA's New Target-Practice App For Children

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy doesn't mince words: 'No matter what outrageous new tool they use, the NRA cannot make a straight-faced case that sport shooters need military-style weapons to enjoy their hobby.'

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) did not waste time ripping into the National Rifle Association and Apple on Tuesday for a newly-released app for iPhone and iPad that allows children as young as 4 to fire military-style weapons like M-16s and AK-47s

"The NRA seems intent on continuing to insult the families of the victims of Sandy Hook,” said Murphy in a press release. “How could they think it was a good idea to use the one month anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook to release a game that teaches four year olds to shoot assault weapons?  No matter what outrageous new tool they use, the NRA cannot make a straight-faced case that sport shooters need military-style weapons to enjoy their hobby."

Here is the full text of Senator Murphy’s letter. What do you think about this app? Add your thoughts in the comments.

January 15, 2013

Wayne LaPierre

Executive Vice President

National Rifle Association of America

11250 Waples Mill Road

Fairfax, VA 22030



Tim Cook

Chief Executive Office


1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014


Dear Messrs. LaPierre and Cook:

I write to you today with a mixture of grief, frustration and outrage.  As I’m sure you are both aware yesterday was the one month anniversary of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  It was also the day that I learned about a new Apple iPhone and iPad app from the National Rifle Association (NRA), called NRA: Practice Range.  Not only does the release of this app demonstrate extremely poor taste and timing, it is deeply troubling that it is rated acceptable for children age four years and older.  I urge you to re-evaluate its rating.

As you know, NRA: Practice Range allows individuals to shoot targets in a variety of settings and with a number of different weapons, including handguns, an AK-47 and an M-16.  In particular, the M-16 is the military version of the Bushmaster AR-15, which was used in the shooting at Newtown.  As a parent of two young sons, one of whom is four years old, I find it appalling that this type of app is deemed acceptable for young children. 

Like most Americans, I was devastated to learn of the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.  The death of 26 innocent individuals, including 20 children, represents a new low point in our society.  To honor the victims, we must use this terrible national tragedy to reevaluate what we are doing as a country to protect against gun violence.  In his remarks after the shooting, Mr. LaPierre noted the role that violent video games play in de-sensitizing our society. It is the height of irony that now the NRA is releasing a game that teaches kids as young as four years old to shoot an AK-47.  Your organizations can play a role in beginning to change the culture of violence and gun glorification that plagues our society, by recognizing that selling this type of “game” contributes to the problem.

Furthermore, while target shooting is a legitimate sport, this game is a clumsy attempt to sanitize the role of military weapons, such as AK-47s and M-16s.  No hunter, marksman, or individual looking to protect themselves or their family needs a military weapon to do so.  Attempting to bring these guns into the mainstream as sport weapons masks their true purpose, which is to kill people, and they are used to do so every day all across the globe. 

Again, I urge you to take immediate steps to re-classify the rating of NRA: Practice Range.  Thank you in advance for your consideration and I look forward to your prompt response. 


Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator

Calvin Arey January 20, 2013 at 01:22 PM
One poster above has it wrong about the guns used at Sandy Hook. Everyone at the school was shot with an AR-15, except the shooter who killed himself with a handgun. Little 6 year old Noah Posner was shot 11 times in the face. A shotgun was found in the car. The AR-15 and two handguns were with the shooter.
Just a person! January 20, 2013 at 01:55 PM
One question, how do we go from a topic on gun control and the right to bear arms. To slavery??????? Calvin please give it a rest. As for you William Dawes, I am with you, "Guns for everyone" then ther would be no problem. I say if you don't like them don't buy one, but for those of us that want to arm ourselves, leave us alone! The old saying goes.... When you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have them!!!! More power to thr NRA.
William Dawes January 20, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Calvin At this point, you are just flailing wildly. You lose.
Calvin Arey January 20, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Have fun. I'm off to the inauguration!!!! I won!!!!
William Dawes January 20, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Listen for one phrase of the President's oath of office - "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". You can watch him say it. I'll see if he follows through with his promise.
Matthew January 20, 2013 at 10:58 PM
How many people posting here who are against (or should I say "afraid of" ?) firearms have ever actually put a round down range in a safe, controlled environment? I'd say none. And to the author of this story: get a grip. You should be smart enough to know that this app doesn't actually let children fire "military style" weapons. It's a simulation.
john donovan January 21, 2013 at 12:58 AM
nra nitwits- the spokesperson is a boston college grad frron the 60s== nitwit
JY January 21, 2013 at 04:09 AM
I've frequently shot guns at a range including everything from a .22 bolt action rifle to a Desert Eagle. I'd like to point out the other blatant bit of hypocrisy/lunacy that is constantly on the minds of gun advocates, which is the idea that they can sufficiently arm themselves to overthrow what they perceive to be a tyrannical government. First and foremost, we live in a society which has a democratically elected government. Our representatives can be voted out in 2 years, our president in 4, and our senators in 6. As a representative government, we elect these individuals to make decisions on our behalf, as it is not feasible to organize a national vote each time a law needs to be passed. In the Constitution, which republicans are so fond of quoting, it states, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." As our government can be 'overthrown' by a peaceful process, even if you do not agree with the outcome of each election or law, attacks against the brave men and women of our military can only be defined as treasonous.
Matthew January 21, 2013 at 02:48 PM
JY, You're so far off in the weeds that I don't even know what you're getting at. I guess that perhaps you should point out where I called for the violent overthrow of the government. That's a pretty serious accusation.
Matthew January 21, 2013 at 08:48 PM
My answer to that question is that not all issues live in a vacuum. Whether one agrees or disagrees, perhaps the issue of slavery, in some way, ties into the 2nd amendment. Any intelligent person who understands that nothing in history stands alone. Everything is intertwined.
JY January 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Hi Matthew, I wrote a 2 part response. The first part responded to your statement. The second part refers to a common theme that always seems to appear in these types of comment forums, in which William Dawes above stated "The Constitution understands that government needs restraint. It is a contract that says, yes, we will allow you to govern us, but we will preserve natural rights that belong to all people. And one of those rights is the right to defend yourself against a rogue government." I was addressing you as someone who appeared to want to speak to all of us who support restrictions on gun ownership. You didn't write the above statement, but you also didn't say anything along the lines of "Whoa, I just want to shoot my guns at a range, hunt a deer or two, or protect myself from someone who breaks into my home." If that's how you feel, then it's important for responsible gun owners to speak up when inflammatory statements like William's are made. How else should I have interpreted his statement when we have peaceful methods for transferring power laid out in our constitution?
Matthew January 21, 2013 at 11:47 PM
JY, I see what you're getting at, but I don't read "treason" in what William posted. The U.S. has a long tradition of being suspicious of the government, and an even longer tradition of "revolutionary" chatter. We could get into a lengthy back and forth quoting the founders about "revolution". At the end of the day, hypothetically speaking, all people have the right to defend themselves against a "rogue" government, no matter where that might be. Perhaps I missed something, but I did not see anyone openly advocating the violent overthrow of the current sitting U.S. government. That would indeed be extreme. My comment regarding whether or not people against guns have ever handled one comes from the fact that I have asked that question, face to face, to many different people, and 9 times out of 10 the answer is "no". These "gun control" measures feel good ones. People think that banning "high capacity magazines" is the answer. Ok, then I'll just carry 6 ten round mags. Or "Ban assault rifles!". Ok, define "assault rifle". Also, people talk like what will be fair in one part of the country will be fair in another. Local governments, through the voting public, should be able to decide.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 12:32 AM
JY You have so many ignorant and flat out wrong statements in your postings I don't know where to start. First, I am not a "gun advocate", anymore than someone who believes in the First Amendment is a "word advocate". I don't advocate "for guns", I advocate for the Second Amendment, which enshrines the right of self-defense against anyone intent on harming you, or exerting tyrannical power over you. Second, regarding the "other blatant bit of hypocrisy/lunacy that is constantly on the minds of gun advocates, which is the idea that they can sufficiently arm themselves to overthrow what they perceive to be a tyrannical government." It seems to me that this was done once before, during the American Revolution. Perhaps you slept through that history class. Additionally, I am not advocating the overthrow of the US government. I am advocating what the Founding Fathers advocated, which was that an armed populace is sufficient to DETER a government becoming tyrannical. Third, I never advocated "attacks against the brave men and women of our military", you slanderous mental midget. Again, the intent is for SELF-DEFENSE against tyranny, not aggressive OFFENSE against our government.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Fourth, your comment that "First and foremost, we live in a society which has a democratically elected government." demonstrates a profound ignorance of history. Lest we forget, Julius Gaius Caesar was elected by the senate of Rome when it was still a Republic, and turned it overnight into an Empire under a Dictator. Hitler may have been appointed instead of elected, but he undermined the democratic laws and seized power. Governments CAN turn tyrannical, and HAVE turned tyrannical in the past. Regarding my statement "The Constitution understands that government needs restraint. It is a contract that says, yes, we will allow you to govern us, but we will preserve natural rights that belong to all people. And one of those rights is the right to defend yourself against a rogue government." Read the Founding Fathers statements again. The Constitution is a CONTRACT between the governed and their government. It clearly was meant to restrain the government, and the Bill of Rights clearly spells out certain rights that the government may not trespass upon. If the government trespasses on those rights, then it would be in Breach of Contract, and the contract would be invalidated.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Thomas Jefferson stated it most concretely: "We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Do you get it yet?
Matthew January 22, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Be careful about labeling other people "wrong". I could easily point out that "Julius Gaius" is wrong. "Julius" is the nomen and "Gaius" is the praenomen. In other words, in modern terminology, "Gaius" is the first name and"Julius" is the family name. "Caesar" is what's known as the cognomen, a knick name, so to speak. Also, to juxtapose Caesar and Hitler is to display a fundamental misunderstaning of the accepted history of how and why Caesar came to power like he did. Yes, he was appointed dictator, which was an accepted custome of Roman law for hundreds of years. Contrary to popular belief, the Roman governing system, during the years of the Republic, was not this shining beacon of democracy that so many people believe it was. It was brutal, exclusive, and prone to fits of "tyranny" more often than not, especially in the last hundred years before Octavius (Augustus) came to power.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Lastly, regarding what to do when "inflammatory statements like William's are made", let me point out that YOU are the king of inflammatory statements. My statements are exactly in line with the intent of the Constitution, and the stated, documented intent of the Founding Fathers. To accuse me of Treason is as inflammatory as you can get. If you think being skeptical of the government is Treasonous, then you are a STATIST. You are someone who is comfortable with the State making all decisions for them and everyone else, believing that the State can do no wrong. You would happily usher in a fascist government, throwing rose petals in front of them as they advanced. And when you say you want "responsible gun owners to speak up", you are publicly stating that you think I am an IRRESPONSIBLE gun owner. I have proven you flat out wrong on that point. Otherwise, I ask you to demonstrate that I have a criminal record or a history of negligence or misadventure.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Oh my God. I'm arguing the fundamental Principles of the Second Amendment. Excuse me for making minor mistakes which in no way compromise my argument. Should I point out that "knickname" is spelled "nickname". Do I need to go into the derivation and history of the word and when it first came into popular usage? Or that the word "misunderstanding" has a "d" in it? Did I say Rome was a "shining beacon of democracy"? No, I said he fundamentally changed the nature of the government. Thank you for interjecting extraneous minutiae. IS MY BASIC ARGUMENT ILLOGICAL?
mike January 22, 2013 at 01:57 AM
things evolve. in 1791 you could own a slave. you could beat your wife. horses crapped in the street. it took five minutes to load a musket. would you trust science from 200 years ago? would you uphold other ideals from that era simply because you could? as a society we have evolved. a banana clip could obliterate a gymnasium of people in the time it would take to load a musket once. weapons have evolved. so must policy. a true gun enthusiast would argue if you can't hit a target with 1 shot, you don't deserve 49 more. there is no place in this world for such weapons of mass destruction. this is not your hunting rifle. and yes, i shoot guns. none of these massacres were political statements. these kids are not tyrants nor patriots. yet over and over its their blood that is shed. Vtech, CT, CO.
Matthew January 22, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Calm down. I get it. No one can point out your short comings. That's par for the course with internet discussions nowadays. Your basic argumet is irrational. You're driving at one point and using YOUR interpretation of history to try and belittle others. Have a great night. I'm done here.
Matthew January 22, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Oh, and William? You apparently missed my posts where I got your back earlier, when JY was trying to label you a traitor. You're welcome.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Matthew What are you talking about? You started off by cautioning me to label other people "wrong", and then started picking apart the minutiae of my argument. I didn't need to be careful, because JY was "wrong" when he accused me of advocating treason. I don't need to be cautioned like a toddler who wants to touch a hot stove. No one can point out my shortcomings? Feel free. But it seemed like I had YOUR back in the argument, and then you came in and nitpicked. Thank you for explaining to everyone how children in Rome were named in 100 BC. That helped further the discussion. My argument is irrational? How is my argument different from that of the direct quote from Thomas Jefferson? Please educate me. Governments have never overstepped their bounds and infringed on individual liberties, and Thomas Jefferson was a reactionary who misread history. Oh, and William, I jumped in to get your back. I read your posts and respected what you wrote and your opinion. But I guess nitpicking is par for the course on the internet. I'm done here.
William Dawes January 22, 2013 at 04:24 AM
Mike I'm not arguing for the laws or ideals or morals of the time, I'm arguing for a PRINCIPLE. Was there bullying in 1000 BC? Yes. Was there bullying in 100 AD? Yes. Was there bullying in 1000 AD? Yes. Why? Because it is human nature. No amount of laws can change human nature. Bullying will still be around in 1000 years. And in the same fashion, the group of people who hold power (we call this "government") no matter what the political philosophy of the group, can overstep their bounds. I'm not arguing that the laws of the time (slavery) should continue to exist. I'm not arguing that the morals of the time (beating your wife) should continue. I'm not arguing that the mechanics of the time should continue. I'm arguing the PRINCIPLE. The principle that the Founding Fathers pointed out is a deep, universal, human failing that comes from our very nature. That doesn't change. Neither does the importance of free speech, or freedom of religion. These are principles which recognize the greatness of the human spirit, and allow it to grow to its potential. Another human failing is that there is evil in this world. If you restrict everyone based on what an evil person could do, you would be living in a cage, because just as there is no limitations to the potential of the human spirit, there is no limitations to its depravity. But only a collectivist mindset would punish or restrict everyone based on the evil behavior of a few.
TheMaskedTruthsayer January 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM
You all sound likeyo are off your meds...no soup (or guns) for you.
Calvin Arey January 22, 2013 at 02:02 PM
It's really important here to get the history of the Second Amendment correct. It was NOT inserted to arm the population against their government. There was concern in the Southern states that the new Federal government would move against slavery someday. The Southern states needed to be assured that their STATE militias would not be disarmed or federalized because those militias/slave patrols were a critical component of the system necessary to keep a slave population under control. This was all a very public argument at the time, the 1790's. Check the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and the writings of James Madison, its author, George Mason, and Patrick Henry, etc. This is not new stuff.
Just a person! January 22, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Imagine all this BS about an "APP "
Just a person! January 22, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Try the app it is terrible could not teach anyone ,anything!
Calvin Arey January 22, 2013 at 02:31 PM
General George Washington had a difficult time recruiting Southern men into the Revolutionary Army. The men were needed in the Southern States because the British were offering freedom to slaves who would join the British and run away from their owners. And those Southern men needed their guns not to protect themselves against their government but against slave uprising and rebellion.
Jay K. January 22, 2013 at 03:32 PM
The 2nd amendment states explicitly that its purpose is to maintain a militia: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." And it seems like you're also saying this. So then wouldn't you argue that we should be reducing the size of the federal government's armed forces such that "well regulated" militias fare a better chance of standing up to it? How do you reconcile the unparalleled power of the U.S. armed forces with the purpose of the 2nd amendment? Supporting the maintenance of such a dramatic power differential is logically inconsistent. Even if you permit the citizenry with access to purchase all the same weaponry, no militia, however well regulated, stands a chance against the U.S. military.
Briny O'Boy February 01, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Calvin that all sounds great, but the British were in fact Lying to the slaves. Oh yes they did free them as long as they fought, But so did Washington. All a slave had to do was fight for one year with a militia or with Washington's army and they were free. The only problem with it was it was only them, and they had to stay within the state to which they were freed. The British took most that survived and put them back into slavery once the war was over ,or turned them back over to loyalists, or shot them for refusing which was a pretty crappy deal. The only ones that made out were the ones that fought for Washington, but that wasn't really fair either. Stay,and don't leave. You could marry, but the female had to remain a slave. Bad deal all the way around. By the way, How was the Washington D.C. trip?


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