Blog Post

Apple, Don’t Cave to Anti-Gun Zealots Over iPhone Apps

It seems that some new iPhone games in the App Store have the British anti-gun lobby’s knickers in a knot.

Macworld UK’s Nick Spence says reports in British newspapers claim the series of iPhone and iPod touch apps developed by the French firm Damabia, such as Boom!BOOM! Shotgun Pro, Boom!BOOM! Shotgun Free, Bang!BANG!, Bang!BANG! OG Edition and Tak!TAK!, are glamorizing “gun culture,” particularly among young people, and have caused “outrage among anti-gun campaigners.”

Claudia Webbe, chair of an independent advisory group for the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Trident gun-crime force, is quoted commenting, “I am stunned this game should ever have been allowed to have been made. We have spent years trying to get imitation guns out of shops and this sort of product undermines that effort.”

The always-strident anti-gun lobby is demanding that Apple (s aapl) pull the Damabia apps, which are either free or sell for 99 cents and are rated 9+ in the App Store for “Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes” and “Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence.”

I say get a grip, and I profoundly hope Apple will resist this political-correctness bullying.

I’m old enough to have spent my formative years in an era before the bane of political correctness had exerted its clammy grip on our culture, and in which youngsters playing “cops and robbers” with “imitation guns,” was not only not frowned upon, but considered a normal and commendable rite of childhood.

I’ve been around guns, imitation and real, literally all my life — a part of “gun culture” if you will, and it’s not something I have any inclination to apologize for. As a young child living in rural Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada, just about every family in the communities I lived in owned (and still do today) a gun — usually several. One wall of my bedroom was a floor-to-ceiling pegboard mounted with firearms replicas (I would bridle if anyone called them “toys”). I wouldn’t have anything that wasn’t a passable likeness of a real weapon.

I was given my first real rifle when I was 12, a bolt-action Winchester .22 that belonged to my father when he was a boy, and in turn to my older half-brother who passed it along to me. Virtually all my male peers during my early teenage years had their own .22s. We had a lot of fun with those guns and 40-odd years later, to the best of my knowledge, not one of us ever became a homicidal maniac or killed, hurt, or even threatened anyone with a gun. Guns don’t make people evil.

I consider gun culture a positive element in society, and know for a fact from experience that high levels of firearms ownership (probably 75 percent, in the virtually crime-free community where I currently reside) do not increase crime and social violence. The opposite obtains, and is scientifically verifiable. A major study by John Lott at the University of Chicago found that for each 1 percent reduction in gun ownership, there is a 3 percent increase in violent crime. Lott observes, “When crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people’s lives.”

I’m not insensitive to agonizingly relentless incidents of senseless, insane violence that keep occurring all over the world these days, many of them involving guns. However, in one of the most shocking and disturbing recent ones, in a Boston suburb this week, the weapon used was a kitchen knife, the only guns involved being in the hands of police, one of whom used his to dispatch a deranged predator and save a life. So, should we go hysterical about demonizing and banning kitchen knives?

Damabia’s latest App Store offering Boom!BOOM! Shotgun Pro Edition for iPhone and touch, includes the eponymous shotgun, as well as a .40 cal semi-automatic handgun, a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a submini automatic handgun and a fully automatic assault rifle. Damibia says Boom!BOOM! Shotgun Pro Edition “lets you experience this childhood game of cops and robbers in a whole new way… with stunning visuals, ear-popping sound.”

Hmmm. Damibia’s ad copy seems almost purposefully inflammatory, which is especially interesting being as they’re based in France of all places, and not the supposedly gun-besotted U.S. I would suggest they tone it down a bit, but I still support their right to develop and distribute these programs. Censorship scares me a lot more than guns do.

40 Responses to “Apple, Don’t Cave to Anti-Gun Zealots Over iPhone Apps”

  1. Before I begin, let me say this – BOTH SIDES ARE PROBABLY RIGHT IN THE EXTREME CASE. What I mean by that is if everyone owned a gun, most criminals would not dare attack people or invade homes. Take the town in Georgia for example, where it was mandated, statistically zero violent crime rate. Even now an alderman in Missouri is arguing for his citizens to arm themselves in the face of real violent crime rates.

    Likewise, just like Nuclear weapons, if firearms could all be made to disappear, then you might get to zero GUN crime, but NOT zero violent crime. Violent criminals don’t obey the law and will always obtain a weapon of either choice or convenience to inflict their sadistic will onto others. This point I need anyone on the anti-gun side to concede before they can be taken seriously. With no other weapon except a gun, can a 91 year old grandfather in Florida defeat a 25 year old career criminal who is determined to kill and rob both he and his wife. If you don’t concede that point, your words are meaningless to those who believe and advocate firearms ownership. Would I prefer there was no such thing as a gun? Or a nuclear weapon? Well yes to the nukes, but then there would be no nuclear power… Same for guns, there would be no target shooting, a really fun sport, there would be no rifle or shotgun hunting, also a lot of fun. If you have never tried either of those, then you have no right to say all guns are bad.

    Nigel’s citing of criticism of Lott’s work is flawed. The analysis and criticism both stem from early numbers in 1996. AND – they only look at GUN CRIME, not ALL VIOLENT CRIME. Let’s use the latest, shall we? In the 20 years since the trends in gun ownership and concealed carry began in 1986, violent crime has gone down in the USA while concealed carry has increased. All over the USA – except in DC and Chicago where handguns were banned, where they’ve enjoyed far above average violent crime rates – concealed carry and firearms ownership have increased while violent crime has decreased. The numbers in the UK for violent crime have been under-reported INTENTIONALLY to mislead the populace. Do a Google search on ‘violent crime in the UK under-reported’ story came out October 2008.

    Now clearly I am on the side of firearms ownership, but not for the love of guns. I detest crime, and the criminals who commit them. I detest the taking of a life by a low-life. And I don’t like being told my rights can be infringed. BUT, if you don’t feel safe with a firearm around, I understand your apprehension. I have found the best way to overcome apprehension is to get to know better the source of your apprehension if possible.

    Lastly, if you believe as I once did that the police will help, think again. In 95% of the cases, the police arrive to investigate a crime that has already occurred. The criminals are all gone and perhaps we can get the 11th commandment, thou shalt not get away with it, but perhaps not. In the USA many states have already given the police a ‘pass’ in that they are not obligated to protect you.

    I enjoy shooting targets, and hunting with my son. I know guns are inherently dangerous and we practice safety drills often. I pray anyone who needs a gun will have one rather than the inevitable crime resulting from lack of a defensive firearm. And if you folks have ever had a knife held to your throat with no weapon or friends nearby, you might think differently about the need to defend yourself. A former NYC detective once told me that liberals are just one violent mugging away from becoming conservatives…

    And yes on my iPhone are the Shotgun Free App, the Armory App, and the Ballistics FTE app. They are fun and the last one is useful too!

  2. Nigel Whitcombe

    In In Australia, a year after strict new gun control laws took effect, homicides were up 3.2%; assaults were up 8.6%; armed-robberies increased 44%; and in the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms increased 300%.

    There’s a lot of spin in this. A more reasonable analysis can be read here. If your argument in any way reflects Lott’s study, then his study is basically worthless. Given others’ analysis (see, for example, this review of Lott’s work), there is little substantive data backing up your claims. Let’s face it, appeals to percentage change are really just a way to hide the fact that the US has about three times the homicide rate per capita of Australia, Canada, and the UK.

    Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people.

  3. I agree with the points made by Charles and others about the silliness of the British media and their love of hyperbole around scare stories, and to talk of banning the games is OTT, but hey, headlines sell newspapers.

    But I also came close to unsubscribing from this site’s feed. Tacking a bunch of personal pro-gun politics onto this article is really not on.

    But to counter some of your arguments:
    The story involved the UK. Using statistics about gun ownership and crime from Canada is utterly irrelevant. Different country, different culture. We’ve never had wide-scale handgun ownership in the UK, we have hunting guns – rifles and shotguns – but not handguns, and our police still don’t carry guns as a matter of course. This is a good thing for us.

    As for Canada – from what I’ve heard Canada has a much saner relationship with guns than the USA. But still the idea that you can tighten gun controls in a society already saturated with them and expect some immediate benefit is silly, even if you banned all handguns it would take decades to see real benefits. Take account of that long border with the USA and I’m not sure you’d ever end up with UK levels of gun crime. My point is you’ll have to wait a long time to see any potential benefits from tighter gun controls, I’m sure all the stats you quoted are true, I’m not sure they mean gun control is bad.

    So maybe your opinions are right for you and Canada – at least in the short term – but they don’t apply to the UK.

    And that’s the crux of the problem here, you took a story about tabloid hyperbole and possible censorship in the UK and used it as a platform for personal and Canadian gun politics.

  4. Sorry can we bring figures rather than just percentages into this, gun crime increased here by 117% in 6 years did it? from what number? 100 to 217 over 6 years, 1000 to 2170??. Percentages don’t tell the scale.

    Also as those 6 years covered the period of the end of Thatchers destruction of the country and the start of Labours governance. I am guessing there are a lot more reasons for the increase in violent crime, robbery etc. Social and economic factors have a lot more impact over here than whether the scally down the road can buy a gun.

    On the right to bear arms, isn’t that supposed to just as part of a well organised militia rather than a personal right? I maybe be wrong there.

    Finally, can we get back to tech news.

  5. what an absurd artical.. I think this was about apple, its products and what he does day to day, not about one mans opinion on gun laws in countries other then his own using old bias research..

    Check Australia, we’ve very heavy gun laws, crimes here involving a gun are practically unheard of.. after a very savage attack to innocent people in Tasmania, our gun laws where tightened even further..

    we are a country that is opposed to guns, we’ve barely any, we don’t need them, they are used to law enforcement, military and the small population that need them for farming and so on, so forth and what not..

    get off your box, some people don’t agree with guns, but an apple blog isn’t the place to talk about those things!

  6. David B

    Charles, I back you up 100% on this. This is a great article, and your comments simply add to it.

    Naysayers: Why don’t you bring facts to the discussion, as Charles did? Instead you just scream “Offensive! Offensive!” That’s ridiculous.

  7. Daniel Phermous

    “I have no problem with people who take a principled and reasoned position different from mine on the issues of guns and gun control.”

    You mean the strident, inflammatory, bullying zealots?

    No, no. That’s not fair. You specify a little more precisely later on…

    “I don’t oppose rational, reasonable regulation of guns, so long as the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns for sport and self defense is respected and protected.”

    So you’re fine with a reasonable, rational discussion with anyone who doesn’t actually want to ban guns. Anyone who is actually diametrically opposed to your you is, by definition a strident, inflammatory, bullying zealot.

    Look, this is an opinion piece and there is nothing wrong with your opinion. You, like everyone else, are entitled to your beliefs, your arguments and your biases. (And I know to say someone has a bias is generally an insult but everyone has biases. It’s part of being human.)

    No, the problem is that you insult and denigrate people who happen to disagree with you, dismissing them as the aforementioned zealots. You cannot accept they may have a point or two somewhere in their arguments and insist on listening only to those who are already broadly on your side.

    Oh, and the other problem is that you do all this on an Apple blog site. A full half of you article was lauding the gun owner’s lifestyle and this is not the place for that.

    “However, as I said, what really concerns me here is the demand for censorship”

    That was one sentence at the end of the article.

    One. Sentence.

  8. Charles W. Moore

    For the record, I have no problem with people who take a principled and reasoned position different from mine on the issues of guns and gun control. It’s the selective, emotional demonization of inanimate objects, or even of their virtual images as in the case of Damabia’s iPhone applications that gets my nose out of joint, combined with the disinformation that many anti-gun activists adn their organizations routinely spout.

    Here’s a concrete example. Last week,Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (whose boss, David Miller, is one of Canada’s most vocal advocates of a total ban on private handgun ownership — which has been highly restricted in Canada since 1934), was quoted by teh Canadian Press news service saying “We all know that 30 to 40 per cent of legal guns end up in the wrong hands and they’re used for criminal acts,” which is a wild and irresponsible exaggeration. A Canadian Shooting Sports Association spokesman cited Toronto’s own Guns and Gangs Task Force calculation of the actual percentage at 5.7 per cent.

    Yopically, my concern is that Apple has been “quick on the trigger” so to speak in banning other iPhons apps. deemed to be controversial byt the stridency of the anti-gun lobbyists cited in the Macworld UK article linked from my column.

    I don’t oppose rational, reasonable regulation of guns, so long as the right of law-abiding (vetted by authorities as they are in Canada before purchase of either long guns or handguns) citizens to own guns for sport and self defense is respected and protected.

    However, as I said, what really concerns me here is the demand for censorship of even make-believe electronic gun imagery from the anti-gun fanatics (viz: “I am stunned this game should ever have been allowed to have been made.”

    CM

  9. Constable Odo

    Aren’t most of you talking about real guns that fire bullets. But the iPhone isn’t a gun. It doesn’t even resemble a gun. If you ran a video on the iPhone showing the firing of some automatic weapon, how does this constitute some sort of danger. It’s like showing a picture of a grenade on the iPhone and then having it go “boom”. Can that also be made out to be dangerous or pro-weaponry or something. I’ve never fired a gun in my life and have no desire to do so. But protesting over some silly gun app on an iPhone is ridiculous.

  10. Daniel Phermous

    Josh, the article is extreme. It is far less about Apple and far more about gun control, from a writer who is trying to attack a personal enemy. Charles is clearly pro-gun. Not, “Yeah, I guess we should have guns” but rather “Absolutely we should have guns and anyone who says otherwise is strident, inflammatory, a bully and have their knickers in a knot whereas I am, of course, none of those.”

    He is using a tech blog as a thinly disguised soapbox for his personal political gripes. His writing is hypocritical, divisive and uninteresting to people coming here for an Apple fix.

    It’s a bad article in the wrong place.

  11. What’s interesting to me is how fickle some of our readers seem to be. We’ve published literally thousands of articles and all it takes is one article you disagree with or don’t really like and you scream “stupidity!” and talk about never reading the site again?

    Really?

    It’s amazing to me that some people seemingly don’t have the ability to debate. They simply disagree and run.

  12. Charles W. Moore

    Actually I’m Canadian – not American.

    For those interested in facts, here are a few pertinent ones to this discussion.

    In 1988 the U.K. brought in stiffer gun control. In the next six years private gun ownership declined by 22.4%, while violent crime rose by 33.6%, robbery 80.6%, and robbery with a gun went up 117%.

    John R. Lott who I referenced in the columsn, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” conducted a scientifically rigorous study on the relationship between gun control and violent crime using FBI statistics for all 50 states and 3,054 U.S. counties over 18 years, Lott found that the civilian ownership of firearms deters violent crime and mass killings. In states where gun availability was higher, crime rates were significantly lower. Criminals fear armed homeowners, and non-gun owners benefit from a “shield of protection” provided by those who own firearms. Lott notes that statistically for each 1% reduction in gun ownership there is a 3% increase in violent crime, and observes observes: “When crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people’s lives…”

    U.S. gun-ownership rates throughout the 1960s and ’70s remained fairly constant, while the rate of violent crime skyrocketed (translation: a glut of baby-boomer males transitioning their crime-prone teens and 20s). In the 1990s gun ownership grew substantially at the same time as there have actually been dramatic reductions in crime. It is people — particularly males between tha ages of 15 and 30, not guns, that are responsible for violent crime.

    In In Australia, a year after strict new gun control laws took effect, homicides were up 3.2%; assaults were up 8.6%; armed-robberies increased 44%; and in the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms increased 300%.

    As Canada has tightened restrictions on firearms ownership over the past 30 yeare, violent crime, particularly home invasions and burglaries, have increased. In the United States, only 13 percent of all burglaries occur when someone is home. American burglars fear getting shot by armed homeowners. Canadian burglars, at least in most urban areas, have no such apprehension. Every second burglary in Canada is a home invasion of an occupied dwelling — a class of crime that didn’t exist in statistical significance 40 years ago. More stringent gun control in Canada hasn’t reduced crime and it didn’t disarm the criminals. From 1991 through the former Liberal government’s startup of a national long gun registry startup in 1998, gun murders had declined 44% in Canada from 271 a year to 151. In the first five years after the registry opened, firearms murders increased by 13%. Go figure.

    CM

  13. “I consider gun culture a positive element in society”. You clearly do not understand the country you are reporting on then. The UK is not a gun culture.

    Sorry, but stupidity and pro-gun lobby posts are not my idea of Apple News. RSS feed deleted. I advise like-minded people to head over to Daring Fireball- for intelligent Apple related news and commentary… minus the gun totin’ nonsense that gives America a bad name.

  14. Matt J

    bv;

    “… the US – which has a pretty high murder rate… due to the fact that you all have guns”

    Sorry, not true; to begin with, you’re arguing post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is fallacious.

    It’s also the fact that in the U.S., for example, areas with higher rates of legal gun ownership tend to have *lower* rates of violent crime, including gun-related crime.

    There’s a lot of solid information on the subject, starting with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, to CDC, StatsCan, etc etc etc.

    Everything you’ve learned on TV and in the movies on the subject, pro or con, is wrong.

    Yes, but without the barrier of an international border, guns bought legally in the US can easily make their way into the illegal gun market. The statistics speak for themselves. 28 gun murders per million in the US, 1 gun murders per million in the UK.

  15. Peter Pain

    A totally sad commentary from this Blog.
    I live in Australia, and although it has a convict/bush culture of old, is today a predominantly urban society. We also have no “gun culture” with a majority of the population strongly for gun control and a minority of rural/club owners staking a valid claim to reasoned use, and an even small “strident” minority living in LuLu Land railing at all gun control measures.

    I tool grew up in the times lauded by Charles Moore. I too had toy guns, and even learned to use a gun and for a time in my teens, welcomed going hunting with a rifle.

    Not today. Private gun ownership outside of well managed clubs have no place in an urban society. They beget violence.

    True. Guns dont kill people … people kill people. But the ready availability of guns has been demonstrated ad nauseum to enable and empower people to kill people who otherwise would have had to resort to less lethal means to resolve argument, with less likelihood of lethal results.

    I dont want any of your gun culture in our society, thanks. And that applies to gun games too. They only encourage an attitude that violence be the first resort to resolving conflict instead of the last.

    And that is the lasting lamentable demonstrable failure of the American “Gun Culture”. It has supported a social attitude that has permeated foreign policy that lead to avoidable lethal conflicts that have killed whole populations over the past 50 years.

  16. steveH

    bv;

    “… the US – which has a pretty high murder rate… due to the fact that you all have guns”

    Sorry, not true; to begin with, you’re arguing post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is fallacious.

    It’s also the fact that in the U.S., for example, areas with higher rates of legal gun ownership tend to have *lower* rates of violent crime, including gun-related crime.

    There’s a lot of solid information on the subject, starting with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, to CDC, StatsCan, etc etc etc.

    Everything you’ve learned on TV and in the movies on the subject, pro or con, is wrong.

  17. The world is changing and you can’t hide your head in a hole. Frankly I see the Brit lack of a gun culture as a weakness. Guns make you safer.

  18. Keep in mind that Britain’s “gun problem” has grown hand-in-hand with its increasingly draconian bans on guns. The cops in Victorian England may not have carried guns, but judging from remarks by those who lived in the era, carrying a small revolver when out in public was almost as common for the men of that day as pocketing house keys. Criminals aren’t stupid. The result was remarkably low rates of violent crime.

    As G. K. Chesterton wrote in a 1906 magazine article, it’s absurd to keep toy guns and swords away from little boys. Deprive them of “imitation guns” or games with guns, as that French twit suggested, and they’ll turn a stick into a gun. Instead, Chesterton said, adults should earn the respect necessary to teach boys to treat anything dangerous with care, precisely as Charles Moore was raised. No boy worthy of the name is going to respect someone who regards guns as “ickky poo.” England’s problem isn’t the presence of guns, it’s the absence of good fathers and father-figures.

    Chesterton, by the way, bought a pistol just before he married and, judging by the remarks of his friends, carried either a pistol or a sword cane in public throughout his life. And he was 6′ 4″ tall and weighed about 300 pounds in an era when most of England’s thieves were scrawny and about 5′ 4″ tall. As best I’ve been able to tell, no one ever tried to mug him.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace

  19. BMWTwisty

    Nicely stated, Mr. Moore, but @kais sez: “My right to live trumps your right to own a gun any day of the week.” Sorry. You’re quite possibly dead wrong on that one, my friend. Your right to live is in most cases assured by the Second Amendment and folks who exercise their rights against criminals who by definition don’t give a whit about laws. Citizens in the U.S. with firearms prevent more that a million crimes each year. The state constitution of Pennsylvania, used to draft the U.S. Second Amendment, states clearly, “the right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.” Heller finally codified that clarification. @kais is as wrong as the rest of the anti gun folks and his naivete won’t do a thing to save his bacon when the next bad guy wants him or his money – then decides to cap his ass. The U.K will eventually rue the day it confiscated firearms from citizens, err, excuse me, subjects.

  20. John Strugman

    This is an Apple blog. Oh yeah, that’s part of the site’s name.

    This post by Mr. Moore is not an Apple post but just a post about someone griping about political correctness and “The always-strident anti-gun lobby.”

    If I wanted to read this drivel I’d go to Fox News, Bill O’Reilly’s, or Rush Limbaugh’s media empires.

    I like many aspects of the Apple Blog. It’s too bad that one writer is making me never go back to this site. Ever. Kudos to Mr. Pigford, Mr. Reestman, Mr. Bookman, and all the other fine folks at this blog.

    Apple and Google supported the fight against Proposition 8 in California to end same-sex marriage in California. So Apple is not about political correctness or censorship, if you believe outlawing same-sex marriage to be a type of censorship.

    I came to the Apple Blog to get my tech fix, not hear some dinosaur reminisce about irrelevant culture wars and spew out nonsensical statistics about guns and crime.

    There are many other Apple blogs out there without this type of polarizing opinion piece masked by an Apple technology facade.

    I go to my RSS Apple feeds for tech, not inflammatory opinion.

    RSS feed deleted. It’s too bad, so may other good writers here.

  21. I grew up in a rural setting, took gun education courses as a youth was taught about how much responsibility they require to use properly.
    I couldn’t disagree with you more and I think your post shows considerable naivete.
    Most guns are in the hands of irresponsible people who do not use them for their intended purpose.
    My right to live trumps your right to own a gun any day of the week.

  22. Jackdaw

    “I consider gun culture a positive element in society” and YOU are frightening. The UK is not a gun culture, the police don’t routinely carry firearms. Citizens do not have guns at home, it is VERY rare. Comparing the number of gun crimes in Canada and the USA to the UK, the latter is VERY safe from gun related problems.

  23. veggiedude

    It’s been over thirty years, but I was a teen in London back then, and I always had a toy gun as far back as I remember. Just because you grew up with toy guns, does not mean you’ll love guns when you grow up. I am all for tighter gun laws. I also grew up eating meat, but guess what, I gave that up 30 years ago too. I think Dick Cavett was right when he said “if violence on TV causes violence [in society], then why isn’t there more comedy on the streets?”

  24. While I agree that censorship is really the issue here, considering gun culture a positive element in society is plain daft. I presume you are from the US – which has a pretty high murder rate… due to the fact that you all have guns.

    But I take your point, we all grew up playing games like Doom and that didn’t turn us into murderers. But thinking guns are acceptable is pretty archaic.

  25. Matt J

    Tone down your post! You clearly can’t identify your own biases, and the fact that the culture from which the criticism stems is utterly different than your own. In the UK, gun control is not a contested issue, and so it is understandable that an application on sale here, but designed with a different culture in mind will draw ire.

  26. Gazoobee

    While I agree that apps shouldn’t be censored, I think you’ve done us a disservice here by posting this blog based almost entirely on your own particular point of view. It’s an honest writing that admits it’s bias, but you must realise that your experience is a minority one and that your feelings about the issue are not really relevant to the facts.

    I also grew up in the “pre PC” culture, and remember my friends playing with toy guns but in those days, the guns were not “replicas” in the sense used by the people who you are criticising here. In those days a toy gun could never be mistaken for a real one, and a kid going “bang-bang!” would never make a nearby officer draw his piece. The experience back then, just doesn’t translate to today’s world.

    Today’s “replicas” look and feel like a real gun and some make noises (like the iPhone app) like a real gun as well. They are a real problem and lots and lots of kids are killed each year as a result of waving a replica gun around at school or in the street. That’s why there was a big effort to “ban replicas” (not the toy guns you remember), and that’s why the US law that such replicas must have certain markings that identify them as clearly fake.

    Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are like the Nevada and Texas of Canada respectively. I appreciate that you grew up in a gun culture, but your experience is rather unique, rural, and anachronistic.

    I am against censorship of any kind unless there is a proven harm and in this case there is not, but if I was to censor apps in the app store I would censor this one long before I would censor some of the other “adult” apps that have already been denied. The world has too many guns, and too many kids are killed each year because some cop or some gangster thought they were being shot at.

    Giving every twelve year old access to an app that perfectly mimics the sound of an assault rifle is not a good thing. It’s a real problem that you shouldn’t minimise or dismiss IMO.

  27. Gavin Miller

    Fair enough argument but remember you grew up in a very different culture to those in other countries when it comes to guns. In the UK there is a significant and growing gun problem. Without arguing the rights and wrongs of gun ownership, very few people in the UK own a firearms license. Youtube has many ‘gang’ related gun posturing videos and kids are indeed drawn to the glamorous faux gangster aspect of a gun.

    Now, the British Press go ridiculously overboard with fake outrage at things like this but please remember the difference the environment we grow up in has on our actions as teenagers. No British teen would have had the upbringing you did, and certainly not any inner city one.