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How will NRA respond to the Sandy Hook shooting? (+video)

After a long silence, the NRA plans a press conference Friday morning to address the fresh push for gun controls in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

By StaffAssociated Press / December 21, 2012


Washington

One week after the U.S. school shootings that killed 26 people — 20 of them young children — the nation's most powerful gun-rights lobby was finally addressing the issue Friday morning as Congress rushes to consider tighter restrictions on firearms.

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The 4.3 million-member National Rifle Association may be facing its toughest challenge in the wake of national horror over the deaths of children 6 and 7 years old, many of them shot multiple times and at close range by high-powered rifle.

The NRA was silent for days after the shootings in Newtown, taking down its Facebook page and keeping silent on Twitter. Unlike its actions in the wake of many other mass shootings, the group did not put out a statement of condolence for the victims while simultaneously defending the rights of gun owners.

But the group promised a "major news conference" Friday at 10:45 am.

The NRA has re-activated its Facebook account, and its Twitter feed now warns supporters that "President Obama supports gun control measures, including reinstating an assault weapons ban." The group also announced that its top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, planned to appear Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of 4 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 group said in its first public statement since the shootings, released Tuesday. "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 group also promised "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again" and announced plans for Friday's news conference on what is the last real work day before Washington scatters for the long Christmas holiday.

Since the Newtown shooting, President Barack Obama has demanded "real action, right now" against gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. His administration has been moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms.

Obama has said he wants proposals on reducing gun violence that he can take to Congress by January, and he put Vice President Joe Biden, a gun control advocate with decades of experience in the Senate, in charge of the effort.

The president said in a video released early Friday that the White House has received an outpouring of support for stricter gun laws over the past week. "We hear you," he said.

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