NRA's New Target Practice App Teaches Kids To Shoot

Here is some free PR advice for the National Rifle Association in the US: Now is not the time to release a target practice iOS app — especially one intended for kids. According to the NRA, the app is intended for children as young as four years old.

In Target Practice you can choose to test your skills in an indoor or outdoor range or opt to shoot skeet. You get to pick your weapon, and you can pony up $1 to unlock better (more powerful) guns. For example, in the outdoor range your default is an M16, but you can upgrade to an AK47 or an MK11 if you pay. It's really just a point-and-shoot game, but the fact that it's meant for kids is straight up stupid.

It would be a different story if the app were teaching kids about gun safety. As advertised, Target Practice does give safety tips, but they aren't the kinds of things that are going to keep a child from accidentally setting off a gun in the home. They're tidbits like, "keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot" or "know your target and what is beyond it" And the official Safety Tips section just takes you out of the app to the NRA's website.

Not that it should surprise you at this point, but the organisation really missed an opportunity here. This would be an excellent time to teach kids about gun safety; too many children are killed each year by accidentally setting off firearms in their homes. Kids see guns in games and they think guns in real life are games. That's just how innocent minds work. And that's what makes this app — like most moves this out of touch lobbyist group has made in recent memory — both poorly timed and poorly executed. How about something productive for once? I guess that's too much to ask of an organisation whose only interest is to get guns into peoples' hands. [The Appside via TheNextWeb via iTunes App Store]



    But the 4 year olds need guns to be able to defend themselves from... umm... other 4 year olds with guns.

      the only thing thats going to stop a bad 4 year old with a gun, is a good 4 year old with a gun

      Also from any rogue teachers trying to teach them the metric system.

      Remember, guns don't kill people, 4 year olds kill people.

    Don't know where the author gets "as young as four" from (seems ridiculous, what 4 year old would even have an iphone?); however in Swtizerland (which has far more free gun ownership laws than USA) children are taught gun safety and practise shooting from a very early age. Note also that Switzerland has the lowest rate of homicides in the world.

    Last edited 15/01/13 7:55 am

      Switzerland also has compulsory military service...

        Yea, but their army is only equipped with Swiss Army Knives... that's why they remain neutral

        What's your point?

          I would say military service provides a level of discipline and guidance that might not be available to the average gun owner in the US.

      According to the UNODC, there are 15 countries with a lower homicide rate than Switzerland, including Hong Kong, Japan and Austria. In comparison, the US is about on par with Thailand and Yemen, and Australia and New Zealand are both about one fifth that.

      That's for homicides in general, of course. For gun-related homicides, Switzerland sits about middle of the field, with about 1 per 200,000 population. In comparison, the US rate is about 1 in 27,000 and the Australian rate is about 1 in 1,000,000.

      There's some good data on the UNODC website if you're interested, though I'm not sure if Gizmodo accepts links in comments. Just search "UNODC Homicide Statistics".

        Australia has very restrictive gun laws.... (maybe not the worst (strictest) in the world) however the laws aren't really what keeps the Guncrime rate down, it is the culture.... (New Zealand has less restrictive laws, and in national parks it is allowed to shoot any 4 footed thing that isn't already dead... (let me know if this is incorrect) )

        Generally if we have an argument with someone over here it doesn't result in 10 paces on the Whitehouse lawn.... Nor do we tend to shoot first and ask questions later....

        (Even the 'odd' person who has had a shotgun fired at them from a rural farmhouse when asking for directions at 3 am (not a frequent occurrence), the shot wasnt intended to harm ,just warn...

        Gun awareness for kids is good, don't let them play with toy guns, give them real guns to shoot on the range (with adequate supervision and hearing protection) and you never know, we may have a new crop of olympians on our hands.... If they like the sport, of they are disciplined and good at it, it is as good for all ages as any sport....

        Hunting is another thing, but if you eat meat, you have every duty to realise where it comes from... Hunting is no more inhumane than an abbatoir... IF the correct training and marksmanship is employed...

        AS far as this app.. its a bit naf, and they (NRA) probably have sort of lost the plot... or trying to stir the political pot significantly.

        Criminals commit crimes, criminals break the law and criminals generally have off-licence guns, they do not register their weapons nor do they buy through official channels.. Gun laws merely inconvenience the law-abiding folk, the crim's who want or need firearms will always have access to them... (Probably buy-them-back off the buy-back programs...)

          The argument in your last paragraph is thrown around a lot, but it's only half true. Yes, criminals can gain access to illegal weapons, but strong gun control laws and an overall drastic reduction in the number of guns in the first place significantly limits their ability to do so.

          Remember, in a typical lawful country, organised crime is actually pretty civilised. They understand that if you draw attention to yourself, you'll have the police shutting down your operation in a heartbeat. Guns in the hands of high end criminal groups pose very little threat to the general population in that situation. Most firearm-related homicides in the western world are caused by the mentally unstable, low-end criminals and crimes of passion. Strong gun control does have a demonstrable effect on keeping weapons out of the hands of these people, who don't have access to the illegal distribution networks used by higher end, more organised groups. And sellers generally don't risk handing their merchandise over to someone who's more likely to rat them out if they get caught.

      "Ladies! Has your daughter succumbed to societal brainwashing? Does she refuse toy soldiers for Barbie and pass up BB guns for My Little Pony or Hello Kitty items? Have you despaired of interesting her in the practical aspects of life, such as weaponry and self-defense? "

      Sells Hello Kitty guns.

      [Edit] Oh damn, it's a parody site. Either way, I've seen a guy with a Hello Kitty rifle for his young child. It's an old photo I'm having trouble locating, but I know I've seen it. I don't know if that ones real or not. But it was still funny. There we go, still now what I was aiming for. But hey, a toddler with an actual gun license.

      Last edited 15/01/13 10:21 am

      While their levels of gun ownership are very high (they're literally given guns at the age of 20 by the government), the ownership of ammunition is low. I think there is also compulsory firearms training (as part of their national service) on an annual basis.

      As far as I can tell, the Swiss (via the Swedish Standards Institute) literally wrote the book on social responsibility: SS-ISO 26000:2010 Guidance on social responsibility. So, yes, while their gun ownership laws are more lax than the US, there come responsibilities with that ownership, and an obligation to not be bloody stupid with guns.

    This far more important than learning how to read and write, right Mericka?

    This is confusing, The NRA blamed video games for making people violent and now appeared to have released a video game aimed at children...

    This just adds to my conviction that the US is fast becoming a military hegemony. They are indoctrinated now to the point where for the most part they actually believe they are the world police. Ok that may be a little over stated, but the fact that the NRA thinks this app was a good idea after the last tragedy speaks loud and clear. They genuinely believe that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. Another decade and they will be teaching kids in school that the US is responsible for the worlds guidance.

    Sooo!!! im guessing that hypocrisy isnt in the NRA's dictionary.

    The issue here isn't the Age Rating - that's Apple's call. As Luke alluded to above me, it's releasing it after pointing the finger at games for gun-related murders, rather than gun control. It's also just another reminder of the US's obsession with their gun culture.

    It's interesting how usually any time there's a link between video games and gun violence, there's an angry chorus of geeks shouting "VIDYA IS NOT REAL LIFE!!!1!"

    It is a lost cause isn't it, thanks John Howard for what you did with our gun laws.

      Ur kidding obviously...

      Or do you feel safer knowing that only criminals have guns....

      (Or the Relatively few licenced shooters who jump through all the hoops every time they roll over...)

    Because having citizens armed to the teeth has worked so well to keep crime down for countries like the USA, South Africa. If cultures accept that the only way to live a worry free life is to walk around armed then shooting someone also becomes accepted as normal defence.

    It is every Americans god given right under the second amendment to be violently shot to death in a mass shooting by a semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100 round capacity magazine.

    - Thomas Jefferson

    Last edited 17/01/13 2:00 am

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