|The NRA: Practice Range app, which is rated for children 4 and up, includes a 3-D shooting game. (screen grab from iTunes)
The National Rifle Association didn't pull its new target practice game, as a petition demanded, but it did raise the age rating from 4 years and older to 12 and up.
"NRA: Practice Range is an insult to the victims of gun violence," a group called the Courage Campaign wrote to Apple, asking it to revoke approval of the "shameless" new app that was released on iTunes a day shy of the one-month anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
The 3-D shooting game has nine different firearms and three "immersive" shooting ranges. Originally rated as 4+ -- described this way in the iTunes rating system: "Applications in this category contain no objectionable materials" -- the game's rating was changed late Tuesday to 12+, and a warning added: "Frequent/intense realistic violence."
An accompanying description says the game "instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations."
The NRA, which was highly criticized for its silence in the immediate days after 20 children and six adult staffers were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School, says the game "strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education."
In his statement a week after the tragedy, NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre placed part of the blame for the proliferation of violence in America on "vicious, violent video games."