NRA Fires Back at Washington Post Piece on Wii Zapper, Toy Guns

December 18, 2007 -
In November, GamePolitics cited a Washington Post article which related the launch of the gun-like Wii Zapper peripheral to long-standing parental angst over toy weapons.

Apparently the National Rifle Association took issue with the WaPo's view. The January issue of Americs's First Freedom, an NRA magazine, features this commentary:
In a recent story, the Washington Post declared that violence stems from toy guns. The latest toy to draw the wrath of the gun-banners at the paper? The Nintendo Wii, which comes with a futuristic-looking "blaster."

The paper uses the release of this toy to bash various toy firearms that have been introduced over the decades. They go after everything from your child's cap gun to your kid's Super Soaker...

"It seems like the Post will look anywhere to try and find solutions to violent crime... even your child's toy box," [NRA president Wayne] LaPierre added. "The only place they seem afraid to mention is a jail cell, which is where the solution lies."

GP: Big thanks to longtime GamePolitics reader illspirit for the tip!

Comments

If you read the article being criticized, the last line of it says, "Relax, you won't shoot your eye out." Essentially, the article was a sarcastic view of pop culture. Sarcasm does not translate well into the written word, even if the entire article is "over the top." Also, keep in mind the original article is from the Roanoke times, in a place where concealed carrying requires no special license.

So the NRA's response is like taking "The Onion" as fact instead of parody. The net result is no one ends up looking good.

As a child I was never allowed to play with plastic toy guns that looked like the real thing (which in this country have to be painted a vibrant orange colour) but I was allowed to play with water pistols, super soakers and my NES light gun.

Does that mean i'm in any way maladjusted?

The classic 8-bit NES Zapper. The first time I ever played with one, for the obvious game at the time ; Duck Hunt, I was 5, which was in 1989.

I remember the game pretty vividly, and perhaps I shouldn't use a childhood memory as back up, but I don't remember there being a real fuss over the gun-shapped toy back then.

Anyway. Just two cents thrown in the pond.

Great - now we have the support of the NRA! Whilst their points are valid, I never expected support from that quarter. Now this really does blur the distinction between real and virtual violence...

I can't believe that any kind of fuss is being made over a plastic shell that doesn't really resemble a proper gun at all. Nobody is forcing anybody to buy it, anyway!

O/T: That last line about jail cells is quite funny. That's right, you only need to fix problems after a crime has been committed, prevention is way overrated, riiiight...

as long as we live in a society that spends more money on jails than education, we're doomed to fail.

All right video games now have an invested interest in the first and second amendment. Lets keep pushing for the whole Bill of Rights!

I think a picture of the Wii-zapper needs to be shown. For ANYONE to think that it looks like a gun is either completely misinformed about the look and feel of firearms, or they think Star Trek phasers are the root of all evil.

Any and all forms of projectiles and items which may look related to projectiles are endangering your children!!! Ban rocks! They could be launched from the peripheral appendages of most children, causing harm to others! Ban sticks! They might give your children violent ideas about using an atlatl to fling javelins at their peers!

I wouldn't put it past them to be using an image of the first zapper model that was unveiled, which looked less like the number two, and more like a sawed-off shotgun. Ahhh sensationalist fear-culture media... is there any truth you won't pervert?

:: Sits back and enjoys the show. ::

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

@Monkey thumbs


Um last time I checked, the NRA was all for crime prevention, just alot of people don't like some of the methods they push.

The irony in all this? Remember one of those yuppie New Jersey parents who said that Nintendo "might as well include NRA applications with every Zapper"...?

@ conejo

I agree whole heartedly.

I remember as a kid with imagination I could pretend anything was a wapon so my parents wouldn't have been able to stop me. It seem as though people want to raise their kids in a pink cocoon of happiness a joy. But let's face it life is hard and although I understand parents to desire protecting their children. In my opinion if kids are confronted with reality in a CONTROLLED environment (games) with defined rules, the better they can adapt to reality and its shortcomings later on in life. Life is made of conflict and violence. in my opinion toy violence is one of the most overrated thing in the world. real violence is far more dangerous and overlooked by those that scream "protect the children". I scream back "Let's raise our children as human beings".

Human Stupidity is simply boundless.

If there's any problem in the world, it's not games or toy guns - it's the limitless bounds of human stupidity and special interest groups.


And yeah... when I was a kid, we used to use various sticks and pretend they were guns. You know a finger with a thumb up in the air works too..

You gonna ban sticks and cut off kids hands?

That's ok, because BOTH of my kids have fired REAL guns. And I can guarantee-fukin-tee you, neither will ever murder someone in cold blood. Self-Defense is a whole different matter, but at least they are prepared for that.

And oh - my kids play GTA too

I think this story is hilarious:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2001/05/31/ns_chicken010531.html

Ban chicken fingers... and children fingers apparently.

and yet we still sell them paint ball guns and bb guns

those look more like real guns than the zapper

morons

Question too...

In the 50's my dad and his friends used to play with 'toy guns', as many kids have over the ages.

Why is it that just 'now' they are causing all these horrible problems???? What about the 60's, 70's... why not then?

Hell - prior to that, most kids had REAL guns around the house - they were very commonplace then. I grew up with guns around the house - I've never killed anyone, nor will I. But protect myself - that I can do...

I'm sure many will say, "oh you're crazy, you don't need a gun to protect yourself" - odd, isn't it - how 'society' has made this spin over the last 50 years of how government is so very wonderful and here to help us, and will protect us from everything... But 50 years ago - only a FOOL would believe that. I guess there are just more fools now, eh?

You know - I think in reality it's a bunch of special interests and government trying to disarm people. Really, this 'fear' of guns, probably makes them more tempting and dangerous to society.

A 17 year old I know, who was brought up in the suburbs thinks he's all 'gansta', and would just love to get his hands on a gun. And in all likelihood, if he did - he would probably do something stupid with it... And he was brought up in one of those 'perfect' happy little families. With no GTA and where guns were evil - one that would make Jack Thompson proud. Of course, we must ignore the fact that he's OD'ed on prescription painkillers twice, can drink more than a grown man, and has been in and out of re-hab tons of times...

A little 'reality' never hurts kids - actually, bringing them up in some happy, rosy "fantasy world" seems to be the real problem.

So tell me - if society is so very wonderful now - why all the gang problems? Drug problems (not just crack, but prescription stuff too), sicko pedophiles, twisted kidnappers, people running like madmen on the roads from cops, murders, etc, etc, etc.. and no - I don't think it's just perception.

People need to wake up - go check out www.infowars.com - laugh if you want, but if you really take the time to dig into it, you might be surprised at what you find.

I've known how to load and shoot a 22 since I was seven years old, and I've never killed anybody. I've also been cutting my food with a knife for just as long, and I've never stabbed anybody. My Dad taught me how to box when I was 9, and I don't go around beating people.

If a Wiii Zapper is bad, what about all those children raised on a farm that have slaughtered animals?

@Robb "Also, keep in mind the original article is from the Roanoke times, in a place where concealed carrying requires no special license."

Not true. One needs training and a State issued license to carry concealed handguns in Virginia.

And the Roanoke Times' editorial staff is rabidly anti-gun. So much so that one of their editors acquired the entire list of licensees (which included names and addresses of victims of domestic violence/stalking, people in witness protection, law enforcement, prosecutors, Representatives, a Senator, etc..), and posted it online as a searchable database. Their "justification" for this easy shopping/hit list for criminals was that aforementioned licensees should be treated like sex offenders.

Hence why the NRA (and every other gun rights group) doesn't have much of a sense of humor when it comes to the Roanoke Times or WaPo's shrill agitprop hidden behind a thin veil of feigned sarcasm. Sort of like how lots of people here pile on JT when he makes a "joke." ;)

@Monkeythumbs

I would guess the line about looking in jail cells is meant to point the finger at people not tools, and isn't meant as a promotion of exclusively reactive justice.

If only the NRA had chastised the Soccer Moms..

You can't chastise soccer moms, it only makes them more powerful.

@OP

I'm not a fan of the NRA, but I have never understood the problem with toy guns. It's good to see the NRA at least affirm the boundary between "Real" and "Imageinary" [Wii]. Toy guns? Sure, all fine and dandy. Real guns? Functionless instruments of death, clung to by a primitive society enthralled by phantom fears, that need to be strictly controlled and reduced at all costs.


@Overcast

"You know - I think in reality it’s a bunch of special interests and government trying to disarm people. Really, this ‘fear’ of guns, probably makes them more tempting and dangerous to society."

Libertarian gun rights make me giggle. Our government can hardly respond to natural disastors and common sex scandals, yet some people dream up ridiculous conspiracy theories... Special intrests do not need to disarm the public to control us. They already make over 1/3 of the labor force work for less than a living wage, strip us of our opportunity to join the rest of the democratic world in providing universal health care, manipulate foriegn policy, and lobby Washington so hard that they practically own 90% of both parties.

"People need to wake up - go check out www.infowars.com - laugh if you want, but if you really take the time to dig into it, you might be surprised at what you find."

LOL Adam Jones! ROFLS! 9/11 Conspiracy theory!!! LOOK OUT, RON PAUL SAVE US (and destroy every basic govermnet service in the process)!!!!!! Please, Adam Jones is the master of false cause research. He can not even identify the true culprits for our culture of corporate greed. They need not hide behind shadows and secret societies; we've already allowed them to use lobbying to control most functions of government. Jones simply performs halfass research to sell consumers a crappy product. His career and lively hood depends on the absurd garbage he pulls from his ass.

Would it kill the guys here to keep the topic focused on Iran?

One bad egg does not equate to the rest of the religion being douchebags.

And yes - both Christianity and Islam have plenty to answer for with regards their past atrocities. Isn't this what current religious dialogue among its leaders is supposed to be resolving?

Forget what I said there - I posted on the wrong blog...

NRA4EVER. Here's hoping the anti-gun law in Washington gets struck down by the Supreme Court.

@illspirit

Thanks! I don't mind having my assumptions challenged. The Washington Post carried the original story, too. Yes, I stand very corrected.

@Twin Skies

*FACEPALM*

Seriously, you're an idiot.

@BlackIce

Don't be a dick, many of us have jobs and it takes more blogs than GP to keep us busy during the day.

Some of us also type stuff in word then copy it into the blog.

Mistakes happen.

@broken scope

But then, some of us are just like that. Calm down.

God damn internet, I can't tell if you missed my joke, or are just joking back.

@broken scope

Second one. You joke wasn't actually that funny though.

I swear where do people come up with some of this stuff in these articles...?

To address the issue as a whole I had the toy guns, the water pistol, the zapper, and actual rifles/handguns. My father taught me about how to properly handle a firearm when I was 8. Now I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO DESIRE TO HANDLE A GUN. Why? Well that's easy... When you're 8 and you put a high powered rifle to your shoulder aim at a can a few yards off and squeeze the trigger reality hits you like a train. No movie or video game for that matter can truly simulate such an experience. When you come away from that gun with a sore shoulder, ringing ears, and the knowledge you completely missed the target suddenly guns aren't quite so fun anymore. The NRA has been an advocate of gun education for years. Do I believe and follow all their positions, no. They have some wacky ones. However, I'm a firm believer in movies and fake guns don't drive a person to go off on a shooting spree or pull a gun on someone else. What does is lack of education on what a gun can do and the reality of actually pulling that trigger.

Kids will be kids. They will point their fingers at each other and say, "bang, bang!" from now till the end of time. If you want to make sure they don't point a weapon at someone then it's the responsibility of the parent to teach them that their children are RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS!

I do not own a firearm, but I am an advocate of education and firearms are no different.

As many others have said here before firing a zapper or gun in a videogame doesn't even come close to the real deal and I have a gut feeling most who make such a comparison have never used a real firearm in their life.

*puts soap box away*

@Loudspeaker

Spot, fucking, on.

@Loudspeaker

Hear, hear!

I never thought I would side with the NRA, but I have to admit, they are right on this one. Once again, if a parent doesn't want their kid playing with guns, then shouldn't buy it. No point in banning it.

Illspirit is correct. In VA you need a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The process to get that permit is much more lax than in other states which is a reason why VA permits are valid only in VA.

The whole blaming guns for violence has always been strange to me. I grew up in a swamp before moving to MD. Guns were everywhere and I was taught how to use them safely and properly. I made the mistake of shooting a squirrel once, and as a lesson I was forced to dress cook and eat it. Point is I was taught to use a gun as a tool; never pointing it at anything living unless it was a last resort.

Flash forward to the Northeast and I have to hide the fact I own 14 weapons, buy bullets by the case, and can confidently nail targets at 500 yards less I be branded some "gun nut" potential criminal.

NRA has it correct. Guns, games, movies, music, television and books do not kill people. Correlation does not imply causation. Want some interesting ones? 100% of murderers have breathed oxygen. 100% of murderers have ridden in an automobile. 100% of murderers have seen a member of the opposite sex. Maybe we should all become unisex.

@Pandralisk
"LOL Adam Jones! ROFLS! 9/11 Conspiracy theory!!! LOOK OUT, RON PAUL SAVE US (and destroy every basic govermnet service in the process)!!!!!! Please, Adam Jones is the master of false cause research. He can not even identify the true culprits for our culture of corporate greed. They need not hide behind shadows and secret societies; we’ve already allowed them to use lobbying to control most functions of government. Jones simply performs halfass research to sell consumers a crappy product. His career and lively hood depends on the absurd garbage he pulls from his ass."

...You do realize it's Alex Jones, right? Adam Jones is the guitarist for Tool.

People need to lighten up. Anybody taking this stuff seriously needs to take a hard look at what is important in their lives. It is a fake gun. Nobody is going to go on a rampage because they played with a fake gun.

Whatever happened to just being crazy......

@Monkeythumbs

"O/T: That last line about jail cells is quite funny. That’s right, you only need to fix problems after a crime has been committed, prevention is way overrated, riiiight…"

The grammar the NRA used could have implied the solution of the 'mystery' of the cause of the crime could be found in people in jail. ie. their favorite line guns don't kill people bullets kill people. It is possible that he does mean your version, but that doesn't have to imply that he doesn't think prevention works, he could be saying keeping prisoners in jail stops crime. For the record I don't like the NRA however.

errr... people kill people

their line is guns don't kill people, people kill people. Weird wire crossed there.

The implication that we should not look for the cause of societal ills is absurd. The government doesn't have any business legislating this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean that individuals and groups shouldn't look into problems associated with toys and the media and try to educate the public about their findings.

Now, I know they say that the enemy of my friend is my enemy, but getting support from the NRA is nothing short of apalling. I hate guns. I loathe guns!

That doesn't stop me from playing 1st person shooters. The games are fantastic!

If the NRA sides with the video game industy, that's a bad, bad thing. Throws another shade of bad light right down onto the gaming scene, which has *absolutely nothing* to do with guns.

The Nyko pistol accessory for Wii honestly looks more gun-like than the Zapper. This shows the irony of media pundits not being involved into video games to the point that you actually miss products that would be a bigger topic of controversy to talk about.

Unlike a lot of people I'm sure, I'm happy the NRA is supporting us.

After all, who knows more about guns: Jack Thompson, ACE ATTORNEY, or the NRA?

@Tammej

Why? A group that can be considered fairly knowledgeable about firearms calling bullshit, and has more than once claimed that video games don't help you learn how to shoot guns?

And quite frankly it has more to do with guns than you would think.

@broken scope
Agreed.

I find the comparison of anti-gun tactics to be very similar to anti-game tactics. Both claim that the item does not fall under constitutional protection (1st amendment for games and the wonderful "national guard" interpretation for guns). Both try to make it legitimate to sue manufacturers of the products based on the misdeeds of criminals.
Lastly, both groups try to over-exaggerate the supposed harm of the legal use of an inanimate object.
Not once has there been a proven case that a game can cause havoc, and nor has there been a proven case that legal gun ownership increases crime.

I'd love to see people explain how you can learn how to work the action, safety and reload by playing with the Nintendo Zapper.

I mean really, it's like saying a hand held hair dryer can teach you to use a gun, or that by playing 'swords' with sticks will turn children into little Samurai warriors.

You know, the Wii Zapper DOES look a bit like a gun...





...when you close your eyes.

@Wirebrain

Yeah and the best part is, both industries do the same things that piss me off.
Instead of telling us the median age of videogamers they tell us the average age.

I've never really seen proof of a casual relationship between gun ownership and crime rates falling, there is a correlation with crime rates going up when guns are banned but once again not causality can really be proved. Then they make the bullshit claim about how one town banned guns the other made them mandatory then rates went up in ban town and down in mandatory town.

my kingdom for an edit button
 
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