NRA offers condolences, announces ‘major’ news conference on Dec. 21

In this Feb. 10, 2011, file photo, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks in Washington. The next big issue in the national debate over guns _ whether people have a right to be armed in public _ is moving closer to Supreme Court review. A provocative ruling by a panel of federal appeals court judges in Chicago struck down the only statewide ban on carrying concealed weapons, in Illinois. The ruling is somewhat at odds with those of other federal courts that have largely upheld state and local gun laws, including restrictions on concealed weapons, since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling declaring that people have a right to have a gun for self-defense. LaPierre said, "Clearly, the individual right under the Constitution does not apply only to your home. People have lives outside their home and the constitutional right applies outside their home." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The National Rifle Association Tuesday issued a statement extending its condolences to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn, and announcing it will hold a “major” news conference on Dec. 21.

“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.

The release also explained the NRA’s removal of its Facebook page, the silence of its Twitter account and its leadership’s refusal to speak to the press in the aftermath of the Friday attack that left 20 children and six adults dead.

“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 nation’s largest firearms advocacy group also stated that it was willing to make “reasonable contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

The NRA’s response so far is similar to those following previous mass shootings.