I read on CNET today that a new iPhone application, NRA: Practice Range (iTunes link), was released by MEDL Mobile that includes NRA safety, training, and education resources along with a target practice shooting game. Given the horrific tragedy just a month ago in Newtown the timing for this release is probably not the best, but it does focus on the educational aspects of the NRA.
If you check out the free game you will see it is one of the least violent shooting games you can find to play (along the lines of the old duck hunting games we played on consoles) and it is more geared towards educating gamers on safe use of weapons rather than shooting people, aliens, zombies, or other creatures.
According to the description on iTunes, this new application provides the following:
SAFETY, TRAINING & EDUCATION NRA: Practice Range puts the National Rifle Association’s broad scope of resources in the palm of your hand – with 2nd Amendment newsfeeds, gun law information centers & educational materials you can access anywhere, anytime.
TARGET PRACTICE NRA: Practice Range also offers a 3D shooting game that instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations. It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.
I grew up in the foothills of Mount Rainer and come from a line of loggers and hunters with a grandpa that taught hunter safety courses for over 30 years. My grandpa taught me how to safely use a firearm and he would get furious with anyone he saw improperly using a weapon at any time. The public discussion around shootings over the last couple of years has brought up violence in video games as a factor, among many other things, and I know that these types of games have not affected me personally.
I haven't heard much discussion around gun safety and know growing up that this was a major focus in a small town where everyone had guns in their homes. I don't know when MEDL Mobile had this app developed and ready to go, but it does seem that the release timing is unfortunate since there are some valuable gun safety lessons and educational tips within the game itself. Ars Technica offered a good perspective on this new game compared to some of the over-the-top articles that jump to heated arguments and controversy.
Gun safety is an important factor in reducing accidental deaths or injuries caused by improper use of firearms and this free application looks to be a helpful resource.