The National Rife Association issued its first public statement Tuesday following Friday’s mass-shooting at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., expressing a willingness to participate in a conversation about preventing future atrocities.
“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 NRA said in a statement. “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.”
In days following the shooting, which left 20 children age six and seven dead, along with six adult victims, the gun lobby’s Twitter and Facebook have been silent. And its press shop has not released any statements until now.
“The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the group’s statement continued Tuesday, announcing that it would hold a “major news conference” in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 21.
Prominent NRA supporters in the Senate and the House have called for a broad national discussion on gun control in the aftermath of the shooting.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who boasts an “A” rating from the gun-rights group and famously shot a rifle bullet through the “Cap and Trade” bill in a 2010 campaign ad, said Monday that while seeing so many young children killed “changed things” and necessitated a conversation, the NRA should be involved in those talks.
“I believe that we must have a dialogue and bring parties from all sides to the table,” he said in a statement issued after a phone call with President Barack Obama.
“I know my friends at the NRA and those who support our Second Amendment rights will participate because I know that their hearts are aching for the families in Newtown, just like all Americans.”