After days of silence since last week’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, the National Rifle Association is finally beginning to speak out, saying it’s “heartbroken” by the tragedy, and it’s looking to help prevent similar events in the future.

“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 gun-rights group said today in a written statement.

It mentioned why it has not made any comment to this point, saying, “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 is also looking to play a role in a national conversation to limit gun violence.

“The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” it said.

It’s planning to be more specific when it holds “a major news conference” on Friday, Dec. 21, in the Washington, D.C., area.

The NRA, a frequent user of social media, had not tweeted since before the shooting and its Facebook page had been taken down, a day after the group boasted of reaching 1.7 million “likes,” noted ABC News.

Twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were killed last week when 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire on campus.

There have been death threats against members in recent days, with actress Marg Helgenberger tweeting that “one can only hope” that NRA members would be gun victims themselves.

John Cobarruvias, a Democratic Party official in Texas, actually called for NRA members to be shot. He has since apologized.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, momentum is building for a look not only at the role of guns, but other factors that could play a part in such horrific shooting sprees.

Some Republicans have suggested a commission to examine mental-health issues as well as violent influences on youths.

“I think we ought to pursue the ideas that call for a blue-ribbon task force or commission with all stakeholders that can look at the much bigger issues associated with tragic events such as this,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“It certainly can’t be a debate just about guns.”

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