The National Rifle Association has broken its silence on the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it is ready to "offer meaningful contributions" to the effort to make sure there are no more incidents like the one in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to kill 27 people before killing himself.
In the wake of the massacre, in which 20 children were killed, advocates for stricter gun control laws called for Congress, President Obama, and other lawmakers to act swiftly to ban assault weapons from public use.
But the pro-gun organization and lobby refused to comment on the shooting until today. The group took down its Facebook page, stopped using its Twitter account, and refused to participate in Sunday morning political talk shows on which they were invited to discuss gun control.
Today, they announced a news conference for Friday, and released a statement saying that NRA members were "heartbroken."
"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters - and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the statement read.
"Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting," the statement said. "The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill his mother at their home, and then to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the rampage. He also had two handguns with him at the time he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The shooting prompted many politicians to make statements supporting gun control, including New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.