WASHINGTON (AP) — A new shooting game for mobile devices by the National Rifle Association is no longer being labeled suitable for preschoolers. "NRA: Practice Range" changed its age recommendation on Tuesday from 4 years and up to at least 12 years of age with an added warning that the game depicts "intense" and "realistic" violence.
The move came amid pushback from liberal organizations that called the game tasteless and its timing politically motivated. It was released Sunday. This week is the one-month anniversary of the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children and six adults dead, and the same week President Barack Obama is expected to announce his plan for curbing gun violence.
A progressive advocacy organization, Courage Campaign, on Tuesday circulated an online petition asking Apple to drop the free mobile application from its store.
"This is a classic example of everything that is wrong with the NRA. Instead of coming to the table with constructive ideas to reduce gun violence, the NRA is instead developing a video game that glorifies guns and gun violence," said Adam Bink, director of the group's online programs.
Apple declined to comment.
The NRA did not respond to repeated calls for comment. It also hasn't claimed ownership of the game, with no mention of it on its website. But the app refers to itself as the "National Rifle Association's new mobile nerve center, delivering one-touch access to the NRA network of news, laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resources." The main menu in the game includes an NRA information section that leads users to the lobbying group's website.
MEDL Media of Fountain Valley, Calif., which developed the game, also did not respond to requests for comment. The New York Times reported late Tuesday that MEDL had confirmed that the game had been commissioned by the NRA.
In just two days, the mobile app generated more than 300 online reviews. That figure jumped to 519 by late Tuesday, with an overwhelming number of reviews praising the NRA for defending the Second Amendment to the Constitution and teaching firearms safety.