One month after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association has released a new game for iPhone and iPad that is being billed as appropriate for ages 4 and up.

The game, which is free on iTunes, is called "NRA: Practice Range," and consists mostly of first-person shooting practice at either indoor or outdoor ranges. The player has a choice of nine guns, though at first, only the pistol and the M16 are "unlocked"; you can unlock other weapons -- like a Beretta, an AK-47 or a Dragunov SVD sniper rifle -- for $1 each through an in-app purchase.

In between shooting rounds, the game displays NRA facts and safety tips. A section on the app's main menu links to the organization's website, with information about new gun legislation, hunting season and various state gun laws.

nra game

An in-app purchase allows the player to use different guns, like the AK-47 seen here.

TechCrunch speculates that the game was able to squeak through with a 4+ rating (which refers to the appropriate age range for players) because the guns in the game are aimed at non-living targets rather than living, breathing animals or bad guys. Also, the litany of gun safety tips that appear in between screens seeks to educate children about the right practices for responsible gun owners.

Still, the targets are "coffin-shaped... with red bullseyes at head- and heart-level," notes Annie Rose-Strasser at ThinkProgress. Indeed, though the indoor targets don't have human features, they are certainly in the general shape of humans.

nra iphone game

A still from "NRA: Practice Range."

What's more, the release of the game is raising eyebrows and causing outrage around the Internet. The Atlantic Wire's Alexander Abad Santos was first to point out that the insensitivity of the game's release date of Jan. 14, which is one month to the day after the Sandy Hook massacre. (To its credit, the release date was likely not chosen by the NRA; Apple maintains strict control over its App Store and has become notorious for its unpredictable app approval and release schedule.)

The NRA did not respond to request for comment.

You can download "NRA: Practice Range" in the App Store, where it is available for both iPhone and iPad. Be forewarned, though, that it currently has received 1.5 out of 5 stars in reviews. It is unclear, however, whether that rating is due to the quality of the game, or due to more, shall we say, political reasons. As the first review in the App Store so succinctly puts it:

iphone game review

Betsy Isaacson contributed reporting to this article.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • 1981: The Attempted Assassination Of President Ronald Reagan

    on March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head.

  • 1993: The Brady Handgun Violence Act

    The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, mandated that federally licensed dealers complete comprehensive background checks on individuals before selling them a gun. The legislation was named for James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

  • 1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

    The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, instituted a ban on 19 kinds of assault weapons, including Uzis and AK-47s. The crime bill also banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. (An exemption was made for weapons and magazines manufactured prior to the ban.)

  • 2004: Law Banning Magazines Holding More Than Ten Rounds Of Ammunition Expires

    In 2004, ten years after it first became law, Congress allowed a provision banning possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition to expire through a sunset provision. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke told HuffPost that the expiration of this provision meant that Rep. Gabby Giffords's alleged shooter was able to fire off 20-plus shots without reloading (under the former law he would have had only ten).

  • 2007: The U.S. Court of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Rules In Favor Of Dick Heller

    In 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to allow Dick Heller, a licensed District police officer, to keep a handgun in his home in Washington, D.C. Following that ruling, the defendants petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

  • 2008: The NICS Improvement Amendments Act

    Following the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, Congress passed legislation to require states provide data on mentally unsound individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, with the aim of halting gun purchases by the mentally ill, and others prohibited from possessing firearms. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in January of 2008.

  • 2008: Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban As Unconstitutional

    In June of 2008, the United States Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a lower court ruling the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional in the landmark case <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>.

  • Gabrielle Giffords And Trayvon Martin Shootings

    Gun control advocates had high hopes that reform efforts would have increased momentum in the wake of two tragic events that rocked the nation. In January of 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing six and injuring 13, including the congresswoman. Resulting attempts to push gun control legislation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">proved fruitless</a>, with neither proposal even succeeding in gaining a single GOP co-sponsor. More than a year after that shooting, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/trayvon-martin" target="_hplink">gunned down</a> by George Zimmerman in an event that some believed would bring increased scrutiny on the nation's Stand Your Ground laws. While there has been increasing discussion over the nature of those statutes, lawmakers were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">quick to concede</a> that they had little faith the event would effectively spur gun control legislation, thanks largely to the National Rifle Association's vast lobbying power. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">here</a>:

  • Colorado Movie Theater Shooting

    In July of 2012, a heavily armed gunman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/aurora-shooting-movie-theater-batman_n_1688547.html" target="_hplink">opened fire on theatergoers</a> attending a midnight premiere of the final film of the latest Batman trilogy, killing 12 and wounding scores more. The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, allegedly carried out the act with a number of handguns, as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. Some lawmakers used the incident, which took place in a state with some of the laxest gun control laws, to bring forth legislation designed to place increased regulations on access to such weapons, but many observers, citing previous experience, were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/batman-shooting_n_1690547.html" target="_hplink">hesitant to say</a> that they would be able to overcome the power of the National Rifle Association and Washington gun lobby.

  • Sikh Temple Shooting

    On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire on a Sikhs gathered at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding four more before turning the gun on himself.