Political leaders across the country are none too pleased with the National Rifle Association's recently released iOS game, NRA: Practice Range. The free app was released one month after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, and allows players to shoot targets at a range with numerous weapons, including handguns and automatic rifles like the ones used in the real-world killings.
"How dumb can you get? How insulting can you be? How tone deaf can you be? You can quote me on anyone of those," Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy said at a press conference Tuesday, as reported by CBS news affiliate WFSB. "The idea that they decided on the one month anniversary to release that, and I've been on the app and you can push a button and hear a gun going off and it's clearly, it's offensive," he said.
In addition to letting gamers shoot guns in a virtual range, NRA: Practice Range offers facts, safety tips, and educational materials related to gun ownership. It also includes the latest news and legislation updates as well as state-by-state gun rights information.
Malloy was not the only Connecticut political leader to take issue with the app. Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a statement Tuesday lambasting the NRA and its decision to release the app on the anniversary of the shooting.
"The NRA seems intent on continuing to insult the families of the victims of Sandy Hook," Murphy said. "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 4-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."
During a much-publicized press conference in December, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre blamed games, among other forms of media, for the deadly shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Criticism over the app extended outside of Connecticut borders. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CBS New York that the app represents "the height of hypocrisy" and called on Apple to change the app's age rating. This would later happen, as Apple altered the game's rating from being appropriate for children 4 and up to being appropriate for children 12 and up.
“The NRA has acted in an unbelievably hypocritical fashion by blaming the nation’s gun violence on video games and movies, then coming out with a game for children featuring assault weapons. Apple should not facilitate children using it,” Bloomberg said.
Not all politicians took issue with NRA: Practice Range. During a recent CBS This Morning interview, Republican former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich defended the app, saying people should take a look at the app before they pass judgment.
"My understanding is that it is a gun safety app and that it's for young hunters to learn gun safety," Gingrich said. "I would recommend people watch the entire app before they render judgment."