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The NRA's new shooting app... for 4-year-olds?


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#1 dudeone

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

The NRA's new shooting app... for 4-year-olds?

By Jessica Hullinger | The Week – 11 hrs ago


http://news.yahoo.co...-150500493.html

Family bonding time! You and your kid can now perfect your shooting skills on your mobile device

One month after a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Conn., the NRA has released an iOS app called NRA: Practice Range that teaches players to shoot at targets on their mobile device. The NRA says the app "[i]nstills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations." Unsurprisingly, though, the app has people on edge, partially because it's approved for children ages 4 and up. "The organization really missed an opportunity here," says Leslie Horn at Gizmodo. "This would be an excellent time to teach kids about gun safety. I guess that's too much to ask of an organization whose only interest is to get guns into peoples' hands."

But even if NRA: Practice Range were approved for adults only, is it really wise for the NRA to release an app featuring targets that look remarkably like human coffins, and real-life models of guns (including an M9 pistol and an M16 rifle)? Don't forget, says Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress, that the NRA "rushed to blame video games, not guns, for inspiring" mass murders like the Newtown shooting.

In the NRA's defense, the game does give some safety tips, including "know your target and what's beyond it." In that sense, the organization "seems to be trying to position itself as a resource for safe and responsible gun owners," says Christina Chaey at Fast Company. But the game also encourages players to covet more powerful guns, like the MK11 sniper rifle, which can be purchased for $0.99.

Edited by dudeone, 14 January 2013 - 07:39 PM.

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#2 Mr. Ambien

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

So? How many 4 year olds played Duck Hunt, Big Game Hunter, Oregon Trail, Deer Hunter, and so on, without so much dramatics or attention? This is only because it's the NRA, and some people who don't like their gimmick have significant trouble not following everything they do. In fact, I'd never even know about news or statements from the NRA if anti-gun nuts never posted it. That's how bad they are.

Edited by zaibatsu, 14 January 2013 - 07:44 PM.

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#3 dudeone

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:32 PM

Why Won't the NRA Say Anything About Its (Possibly Fake) New Video Game?

By Alexander Abad-Santos | The Atlantic Wire – 5 hrs ago

http://news.yahoo.co...-203232344.html

If this app is, in fact, an unlicensed kind of hoax using the NRA acronym without permission, you'd think the NRA might want to squash the brand association quickly. Despite the gun lobby's slow response to the Newtown massacre, the NRA isn't afraid of issuing cease and desists or suing President Obama, the District of Columbia, or the Department of Justice.

RELATED: One Month After Newtown, NRA Releases First-Person Shooter Game with AK-47

What's more, as ArsTechnica's Kyl Orland points out, the NRA's earlier efforts at officially licensed video games have been successful in the lobby's seemingly unending efforts to the turn gun-violence debate away from guns and toward other industries accused of stoking violence. Orland writes:

So Practice Range fits right into the NRA's arguments about video games' insidious effects on our society. "There's nothing wrong with guns in video games per se," the organization seems to be saying; "the problem is the way those guns are used by most of the big-money game industry in service of ultra-violent revenge fantasies. If only the game industry could use its immense influence and power to promote responsible, safe use of guns, as we have with our humble app, the world might be a different place!"

If the app isn't the NRA's, then the app and the controversy surrounding it would seem to present an opportune time for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre to hammer home his point about violence in video games. In his notorious post-Newtown press conference, LaPierre in the days following blamed the gaming industry for mass violence:

And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.

The video-game industry has been reeling as it struggles to put together a lobbying defense of its own. Of course, all these theories would be moot if the app is indeed the NRA's. As of today, the app is still up in the iTunes Store.

Edited by dudeone, 15 January 2013 - 07:33 PM.

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#4 Tearloch7

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

So? How many 4 year olds played Duck Hunt, Big Game Hunter, Oregon Trail, Deer Hunter, and so on, without so much dramatics or attention? This is only because it's the NRA, and some people who don't like their gimmick have significant trouble not following everything they do. In fact, I'd never even know about news or statements from the NRA if anti-gun nuts never posted it. That's how bad they are.


None of these featured a "human shaped coffin" .. good Lord, man .. logic dictates here ..
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#5 Bertuzzi Babe

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:37 PM

None of these featured a "human shaped coffin" .. good Lord, man .. logic dictates here ..


Logic doesn't appear to have much place in this discussion, I'm afraid :(
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#6 Tearloch7

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

Logic doesn't appear to have much place in this discussion, I'm afraid :(


I would sit back, and smile deeply, if groups like Anonymous and other, even more elusive cyber-cause groups, decided to undermine the NRA and the right-wing nut causes thru misinformation .. you know .. sending a summons to the local "militia" to report to some location and then film their disorder? .. :rolleyes:
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#7 Lockout Casualty

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:20 PM

NRA Blasts Video Games After Sandy Hook, Twitter Responds



So? How many 4 year olds played Duck Hunt, Big Game Hunter, Oregon Trail, Deer Hunter, and so on, without so much dramatics or attention? This is only because it's the NRA, and some people who don't like their gimmick have significant trouble not following everything they do. In fact, I'd never even know about news or statements from the NRA if anti-gun nuts never posted it. That's how bad they are.


Oh wait, it's just dramatics. :bored:
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#8 Tearloch7

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

NRA Blasts Video Games After Sandy Hook, Twitter Responds





Oh wait, it's just dramatics. :bored:


It can't be!! .. the GOP has arranged for all artistic programs to be cancelled in the Public School system ..you absolutely MUST be mistaken .. :rolleyes:
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#9 EX_Bert_Worshipper

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

Not necessarily with this particular app, but it does floor me when I think about the mentality surrounding families and guns. I was in a grocery store in Washington and was reading the bulletin board by the bathrooms. What caught my eye? I poster inviting families to come on down for a gun-shooting good time. It was a family event with the main focus being shooting your guns at targets. I think I gave myself away as being Canadian because I caught myself reading it with an "OMG", mouth-hanging open face!
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#10 Buggernut

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

Is there a likeness of Barack Obama as the target in this app?
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#11 aeromotacanucks

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

that“s why our family give simulators to our little destroyer called Joćo Pedro. instead shoot something he learn where is the plane, where is the sea, where is the montains, where is the car, where is the highway, where is the city :)

and the mom“s car is silver, the grandmas“ car is red, the uncle“s car is black :)
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#12 derr12

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

Not necessarily with this particular app, but it does floor me when I think about the mentality surrounding families and guns. I was in a grocery store in Washington and was reading the bulletin board by the bathrooms. What caught my eye? I poster inviting families to come on down for a gun-shooting good time. It was a family event with the main focus being shooting your guns at targets. I think I gave myself away as being Canadian because I caught myself reading it with an "OMG", mouth-hanging open face!


We have family shoots at the local gun club here in canada y'know. Generally its a clay pigeon shoot with shotguns. You dont get real young kinds participating because they cant handle a 12 guages recoil but strong lads and teenagers enjoy the events as participants. It's good healthy fun... a "gun-shooting good time" as it were.

If you go down a ways there is the rifle and pistol ranges where you can shoot targets too. Take little jimmy with his red ryder bb gun to the pistol range and fly at her!

Edited by derr12, 16 January 2013 - 01:19 PM.

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#13 Bertuzzi Babe

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:56 PM

We have family shoots at the local gun club here in canada y'know. Generally its a clay pigeon shoot with shotguns. You dont get real young kinds participating because they cant handle a 12 guages recoil but strong lads and teenagers enjoy the events as participants. It's good healthy fun... a "gun-shooting good time" as it were.

If you go down a ways there is the rifle and pistol ranges where you can shoot targets too. Take little jimmy with his red ryder bb gun to the pistol range and fly at her!


I was shooting Trap & Skeet at 12 and target shooting as soon as I was able to handle a .22 and .410. My father was a provincial champion Trap shooter and as a family, we spent many weekends throughout the year at Trap (& Skeet) ranges on both sides of the border..

Perhaps because I was brought up in such an environment, I can appreciate EX_Bert_Worshipper's reaction if she wasn't brought up in a similar situation. It can sound much worse than it is. That said, the idea of children as young as 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 being handed a handgun or some sort of automatic weapon just for 'fun's sake' without any education or expectation of responsibility is horrifying.

Edited by Bertuzzi Babe, 16 January 2013 - 01:57 PM.

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#14 Richard Parker

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:42 PM

The glorification of the gun throughout the American culture has seemed, at least to me, to have become the proverbial chicken coming home to roost.....and now they're feeding the chicks the same feed.
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#15 EX_Bert_Worshipper

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

I just cannot even imagine putting a gun in my children's hands. No offence to you guys, I just personally couldn't do that. Shooting things just doesn't seem like a family event. I'd rather we play board games!
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#16 Mr. Ambien

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:19 PM

I just cannot even imagine putting a gun in my children's hands. No offence to you guys, I just personally couldn't do that. Shooting things just doesn't seem like a family event. I'd rather we play board games!

That's great for you. I grew up in Northern Ontario and the northern central valley California camping and hunting, so "shooting" was a family event. None of us were killed or shot.

Edited by zaibatsu, 16 January 2013 - 07:20 PM.

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#17 EX_Bert_Worshipper

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

That's great for you. I grew up in Northern Ontario and the northern central valley California camping and hunting, so "shooting" was a family event. None of us were killed or shot.


I didn't mean that anyone would be killed or shot, it would just really churn me up inside to watch my kids shoot a gun. I know a few families who hunt and in this case, I couldn't handle watching my child take a life of an animal.
(in before the "but, you let your kids eat meat, right?" - yes, but I wouldn't want to watch them take pride in taking a life themselves, nor thinking that guns are in any way a great passtime). Their intent is to do damage. I wish to have no part in gun culture.

Back on-topic, I guess that means I probably won't be running out to get this app! :lol:
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#18 dudeone

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

Selling a New Generation on Guns

By MIKE McINTIRE

Published: January 26, 2013

http://www.nytimes.c...on-on-guns.html

Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.

The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition and cash to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for “junior shooters” and sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the Web sites of their makers.

The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.

“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”

The industry’s youth-marketing effort is backed by extensive social research and is carried out by an array of nonprofit groups financed by the gun industry, an examination by The New York Times found. The campaign picked up steam about five years ago with the completion of a major study that urged a stronger emphasis on the “recruitment and retention” of new hunters and target shooters.

The overall objective was summed up in another study, commissioned last year by the shooting sports industry, that suggested encouraging children experienced in firearms to recruit other young people. The report, which focused on children ages 8 to 17, said these “peer ambassadors” should help introduce wary youngsters to guns slowly, perhaps through paintball, archery or some other less intimidating activity.

“The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms,” said the report, which was prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Hunting Heritage Trust.

Firearms manufacturers and their two primary surrogates, the National Rifle Association of America and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, have long been associated with high-profile battles to fend off efforts at gun control and to widen access to firearms. The public debate over the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere has focused largely on the availability of guns, along with mental illness and the influence of violent video games.

Little attention has been paid, though, to the industry’s youth-marketing initiatives. They stir passionate views, with proponents arguing that introducing children to guns can provide a safe and healthy pastime, and critics countering that it fosters a corrosive gun culture and is potentially dangerous.

The N.R.A. has for decades given grants for youth shooting programs, mostly to Boy Scout councils and 4-H groups, which traditionally involved single-shot rimfire rifles, BB guns and archery. Its $21 million in total grants in 2010 was nearly double what it gave out five years earlier.

Newer initiatives by other organizations go further, seeking to introduce children to high-powered rifles and handguns while invoking the same rationale of those older, more traditional programs: that firearms can teach “life skills” like responsibility, ethics and citizenship. And the gun industry points to injury statistics that it says show a greater likelihood of getting hurt cheerleading or playing softball than using firearms for fun and sport.

Still, some experts in child psychiatry say that encouraging youthful exposure to guns, even in a structured setting with an emphasis on safety, is asking for trouble. Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, the director of undergraduate studies in child and adolescent mental health at New York University, said that young people are naturally impulsive and that their brains “are engineered to take risks,” making them ill suited for handling guns.

“There are lots of ways to teach responsibility to a kid,” Dr. Shatkin said. “You don’t need a gun to do it.”

Page 2 of 4
Steve Sanetti, the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said it was better to instruct children in the safe use of a firearm through hunting and target shooting, and engage them in positive ways with the heritage of guns in America. His industry is well positioned for the task, he said, but faces an unusual challenge: introducing minors to activities that involve products they cannot legally buy and that require a high level of maturity.

Ultimately, Mr. Sanetti said, it should be left to parents, not the government, to decide if and when to introduce their children to shooting and what sort of firearms to use.

“It’s a very significant decision,” he said, “and it involves the personal responsibility of the parent and personal responsibility of the child.”

Trying to Reverse a Trend

The shooting sports foundation, the tax-exempt trade association for the gun industry, is a driving force behind many of the newest youth initiatives. Its national headquarters is in Newtown, just a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza, 20, used his mother’s Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 20 children and 6 adults last month.

The foundation’s $26 million budget is financed mostly by gun companies, associated businesses and the foundation’s SHOT Show, the industry’s annual trade show, according to its latest tax return.

Although shooting sports and gun sales have enjoyed a rebound recently, the long-term demographics are not favorable, as urbanization, the growth of indoor pursuits like video games and changing cultural mores erode consumer interest. Licensed hunters fell from 7 percent of the population in 1975 to fewer than 5 percent in 2005, according to federal data. Galvanized by the declining share, the industry redoubled its efforts to reverse the trend about five years ago.

The focus on young people has been accompanied by foundation-sponsored research examining popular attitudes toward hunting and shooting. Some of the studies used focus groups and telephone surveys of teenagers to explore their feelings about guns and people who use them, and offered strategies for generating a greater acceptance of firearms.

The Times reviewed more than a thousand pages of these studies, obtained from gun industry Web sites and online archives, some of them produced as recently as last year. Most were prepared by consultants retained by the foundation, and at least one was financed with a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

In an interview, Mr. Sanetti said the youth-centered research was driven by the inevitable “tension” the industry faces, given that no one under 18 can buy a rifle or a shotgun from a licensed dealer or even possess a handgun under most circumstances. That means looking for creative and appropriate ways to introduce children to shooting sports.

“There’s nothing alarmist or sinister about it,” Mr. Sanetti said. “It’s realistic.”

Pointing to the need to “start them young,” one study concluded that “stakeholders such as managers and manufacturers should target programs toward youth 12 years old and younger.”

“This is the time that youth are being targeted with competing activities,” it said. “It is important to consider more hunting and target-shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

Aware that introducing firearms to young children could meet with resistance, several studies suggested methods for smoothing the way for target-shooting programs in schools. One cautioned, “When approaching school systems, it is important to frame the shooting sports only as a mechanism to teach other life skills, rather than an end to itself.”

In another report, the authors warned against using human silhouettes for targets when trying to recruit new shooters and encouraged using words and phrases like “sharing the experience,” “family” and “fun.” They also said children should be enlisted to prod parents to let them join shooting activities: “Such a program could be called ‘Take Me Hunting’ or ‘Take Me Shooting.’ ”

Page 3 of 4
The industry recognized that state laws limiting hunting by children could pose a problem, according to a “Youth Hunting Report” prepared by the shooting sports foundation and two other groups. Declaring that “the need for aggressive recruitment is urgent,” the report said a primary objective should be to “eliminate or reduce age minimums.” Still another study recommended allowing children to get a provisional license to hunt with an adult, “perhaps even before requiring them to take hunter safety courses.”

The effort has succeeded in a number of states, including Wisconsin, which in 2009 lowered the minimum hunting age to 10 from 12, and Michigan, where in 2011 the age minimum for hunting small game was eliminated for children accompanied by an adult mentor. The foundation cited statistics suggesting that youth involvement in hunting, as well as target shooting, had picked up in recent years amid the renewed focus on recruitment.

Gun companies have spent millions of dollars to put their recruitment strategies into action, either directly or through the shooting sports foundation and other organizations. The support takes many forms.

The Scholastic Steel Challenge, started in 2009, introduces children as young as 12 to competitive handgun shooting using steel targets. Its “platinum” sponsors include the shooting sports foundation, Smith & Wesson and Glock, which donated 60 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols, according to the group’s Web site.

The site features a quote from a gun company executive praising the youth initiative and saying that “anyone in the firearms industry that overlooks its potential is missing the boat.”

Larry Potterfield, the founder of MidwayUSA, one of the nation’s largest sellers of shooting supplies and a major sponsor of the Scholastic Steel Challenge, said he did not fire a handgun until he was 21, adding that they “are the most difficult guns to learn to shoot well.” But, he said, he sees nothing wrong with children using them.

“Kids need arm strength and good patience to learn to shoot a handgun well,” he said in an e-mail, “and I would think that would come in the 12-14 age group for most kids.”

Another organization, the nonprofit Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, which was created in 2007, has received close to $1 million in cash, guns and equipment from the shooting sports foundation and firearms-related companies, including ATK, Winchester and Sturm, Ruger & Company, its tax returns show. In 2011, the alliance awarded 58 grants. A typical grant: 23 rifles, 4 shotguns, 16 cases of ammunition and other materials, which went to a Michigan youth camp.

The foundation and gun companies also support Junior Shooters magazine, which is based in Idaho and was started in 2007. The publication is filled with catchy advertisements and articles about things like zombie targets, pink guns and, under the heading “Kids Gear,” tactical rifle components with military-style features like pistol grips and collapsible stocks.

Gun companies often send new models to the magazine for children to try out with adult supervision. Shortly after Sturm, Ruger announced in 2009 a new, lightweight semiautomatic rifle that had the “look and feel” of an AR-15 but used less expensive .22-caliber cartridges, Junior Shooters received one for review. The magazine had three boys ages 14 to 17 fire it and wrote that they “had an absolute ball!”

Junior Shooters’ editor, Andy Fink, acknowledged in an editorial that some of his magazine’s content stirred controversy.

“I have heard people say, even shooters that participate in some of the shotgun shooting sports, such things as, ‘Why do you need a semiautomatic gun for hunting?’ ” he wrote. But if the industry is to survive, he said, gun enthusiasts must embrace all youth shooting activities, including ones “using semiautomatic firearms with magazines holding 30-100 rounds.”

Page 4 of 4
In an interview, Mr. Fink elaborated. Semiautomatic firearms are actually not weapons, he said, unless someone chooses to hurt another person with them, and their image has been unfairly tainted by the news media. There is no legitimate reason children should not learn to safely use an AR-15 for recreation, he said.

“They’re a tool, not any different than a car or a baseball bat,” Mr. Fink said. “It’s no different than a junior shooting a .22 or a shotgun. The difference is in the perception of the viewer.”

The Weapon of Choice

The AR-15, the civilian version of the military’s M-16 and M-4, has been aggressively marketed as a cool and powerful step up from more traditional target and hunting rifles. But its appearance in mass shootings — in addition to Newtown, the gun was also used last year in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., and the attack on firefighters in Webster, N.Y. — has prompted calls for tighter restrictions. The AR-15 is among the guns included in a proposed ban on a range of semiautomatic weapons that was introduced in the Senate last week.

Given the gun’s commercial popularity, it is perhaps unsurprising that AR-15-style firearms have worked their way into youth shooting programs. At a “Guns ’n Grillin” weekend last fall, teenagers at a Boy Scout council in Virginia got to shoot AR-15s. They are used in youth competitions held each year at a National Guard camp in Ohio, and in “junior clinics” taught by Army or Marine marksmanship instructors, some of them sponsored by gun companies or organizations they support.

ArmaLite, a successor company to the one that developed the AR-15, is offering a similar rifle, the AR-10, for the grand prize in a raffle benefiting the Illinois State Rifle Association’s “junior high-power” team, which uses AR-15s in its competitions. Bushmaster has offered on its Web site a coupon worth $350 off the price of an AR-15 “to support and encourage junior shooters.”

Military-style firearms are prevalent in a target-shooting video game and mobile app called Point of Impact, which was sponsored by the shooting sports foundation and Guns & Ammo magazine. The game — rated for ages 9 and up in the iTunes store — allows players to shoot brand-name AR-15 rifles and semiautomatic handguns at inanimate targets, and it provides links to gun makers’ Web sites as well as to the foundation’s “First Shots” program, intended to recruit new shooters.

Upon the game’s release in January 2011, foundation executives said in a news release that it was one of the industry’s “most unique marketing tools directed at a younger audience.” Mr. Sanetti of the shooting sports foundation said sponsorship of the game was an experiment intended to deliver safety tips to players, while potentially generating interest in real-life sports.

The confluence of high-powered weaponry and youth shooting programs does not sit well even with some proponents of those programs. Stephan Carlson, a University of Minnesota environmental science professor whose research on the positive effects of learning hunting and outdoor skills in 4-H classes has been cited by the gun industry, said he “wouldn’t necessarily go along” with introducing children to more powerful firearms that added nothing useful to their experience.

“I see why the industry would be pushing it, but I don’t see the value in it,” Mr. Carlson said. “I guess it goes back to the skill base we’re trying to instill in the kids. What are we preparing them for?”

For Mr. Potterfield of MidwayUSA, who said his own children started shooting “boys’ rifles” at age 4, getting young people engaged with firearms — provided they have the maturity and the physical ability to handle them — strengthens an endangered American tradition.

Mr. Potterfield and his wife, Brenda, have donated more than $5 million for youth shooting programs in recent years, a campaign that he said was motivated by philanthropy, not “return on investment.”

“Our gifting is pure benevolence,” he said. “We grew up and live in rural America and have owned guns, hunted and fished all of our lives. This is our community, and we hope to preserve it for future generations.”
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#19 Scott Hartnell's Mane

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

Oh the irony.....most children at the age of 4 are watching Bambi with their parents....The NRA parents are buying Big Buck Hunting (or whatever the name of that damn game is) for their 4 and 5 year old kids to play on the PS3...Is it just me or is something ****ed up here?
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Well I tell you what Heretic..if Tim Tebow becomes Terry Bradshaw I will shave off all my hair, convert to Christianity, go into the ministry and become a preacher.


#20 dudeone

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:59 PM

Exclusive: NRA senior lobbyist says attack ad was "ill-advised"

By Susan Cornwell | Reuters Fri, Jan 25, 2013



http://news.yahoo.co...-181051948.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of the National Rifle Association's senior lobbyists said an ad by the nation's leading gun-rights group after a school shooting in Connecticut that refers to President Barack Obama's children was "ill-advised."

Jim Baker, head of the federal affairs division at the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said he had made his views known to others at the powerful gun-rights organization.

The ad, which cast Obama as hypocritical for having expressed skepticism about putting armed guards in schools, when "his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools," drew widespread criticism when it first became public on January 15.

Nationwide outrage over the shooting of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 moved gun violence and gun control to the center of the U.S. political debate.

"I don't think it was particularly helpful, that ad," Baker told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I thought it ill-advised."

"I think the ad could have made a good point, if it talked about the need for increased school security, without making the point using the president's children," he said. The NRA has advocated putting armed guards in schools

Baker was the NRA's representative at a meeting with Vice President Joseph Biden on January 10 to discuss the administration's plans to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting.

He said he was not involved in creating the ad, and once it appeared, he had let others at the NRA know what he thought. "I got to say my piece," he said.

Baker gave no details of the their response to him, but said, "Believe it or not, there are occasionally differences of opinion in this building."

In the ad, a narrator asks, "Are the president's kids more important than yours?" Obama's daughters, 14-year-old Malia and 11-year-old Sasha, attend private school in Washington and receive Secret Service protection, as is routine for children of presidents.

The White House has called the NRA ad "repugnant and cowardly," while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said it was "reprehensible" and undermined the NRA's credibility by bringing the president's children into the debate. Christie is considered a possible Republican presidential contender in 2016.

Susan Eisenhower, the daughter of the late President Dwight Eisenhower who had Secret Service protection as a child, wrote in the Washington Post that she was "disgusted" by the ad.

The NRA's president, David Keene, objected to the White House criticism earlier this month, saying "We didn't name the president's daughters ... What we said is that these are people who think that their families deserve protection that yours don't."

The president's critics also have noted that when Obama announced his plan to respond to the gun violence, he was flanked by four children. Obama proposed renewing a U.S. assault weapons ban, as well as banning high-capacity magazines and more stringent background checks for gun purchasers.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Marilyn W. Thompson and Jackie Frank)
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