US gun lobby 'shocked, saddened' by shooting
WASHINGTON DC, USA - The top US gun lobby broke its silence Tuesday, December 18, about last week's school massacre, saying it was "shocked" by the deaths and vowing to help ensure such a tragedy would not be repeated.
The National Rifle Association said it had waited until now to comment on Friday's horrific shootings in Connecticut "out of respect for the families."
"As a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts," the NRA said in a statement.
A "major" news conference was planned for Friday, December 21, in Washington.
"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," it said.
"The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
Last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was carried out by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who first shot his mother at home before gunning down 20 first graders and six staff at the school, then turning the gun on himself.
Lanza's main weapon was a military-style Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle. He also had two handguns in his possession.
America has suffered an epidemic of gun violence over the last three decades, including more than 60 mass shooting incidents since 1982.
The vast majority of weapons used have been semi-automatic handguns or military-style assault weapons obtained legally by the killers.
There were an estimated 310 million non-military firearms in the United States as of 2009, one for each citizen. People in America are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than someone in another developed country. - Agence France-Presse