NRA Blames Violent Video Games for Newtown, But Partnered With Company That Makes Them

A still from the 2006 game, NRA Gun Club.Crave Entertainment

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In his first public comments since last Friday’s shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre sought to place the blame for gun violence where it truly belonged: the makers of video games. “There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse,” LaPierre said.

But LaPierre’s speech left out a key detail: His own organization has a video game, too. It’s called NRA Gun Club, it was released in 2006 for PlayStation 2, and according to the top-ranked review on Amazon, it “could very well be the single worst game in the history of games.” The game, which was rated “E” for kids 10 and older, featured a handgun on the cover with four bullets and consisted entirely of various target-shooting exercises. Gamers can shoot inanimate objects like watermelons, bottles, and clay pigeons, using one of over 100 different kinds of brand-name, licensed firearms like Beretta.

NRA Gun Club didn’t have the kind of blood-and-guts violence LaPierre specifically attacked in his speech—but it was made by a company that makes its money off exactly that. Crave Entertainment, which produced NRA Gun Club, also released a game called Trigger Man, which, as the name suggests, is about a mob hit-man. IGN notes that as part of the game, players “will need to outfit themselves with the tools of the trade from body armor and over 14 weapons, to silencers to make the ‘hit.'” Another release from Crave is Bad Boys: Miami Takedown. As you could probably guess from the Will Smith movie that inspired it, there’s a lot of shooting—and not of the clay pigeon variety:

Bad Boys: Miami Takedown. Crave Entertainment

On the other hand, if the reviews were any indication, NRA Gun Club may have been its own form a gun control. As Ed Lewis wrote for the gaming website IGN, “The only time that this game inspired me to want a real gun was when I took the disc out of my PS2. Seeing this digitized crap explode into a hundred silvery slivers would have been the only bit of satisfaction it could ever deliver.” Or as Game Spot’s Jeff Gerstmann put it, “you’re bound to rip the disc out of your PlayStation 2 and fling it across the room almost immediately after putting it in.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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