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NRA finally comments on Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre

[Image via Micha Niskin, Creative Commons licensed]

The US gun lobby and firearm industry feels it's not the right time to talk about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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,” a spokesman for the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) told The Vancouver Observer.

But the NRA, the organization devoted to -- as they see it -- maintaining the US constitutional right to bare arms, promises action.

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the spokesman said, adding that, “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 is slated to host a press conference Friday to finally divulge its full position on the attack that claimed the lives of 26 people, 20 of which were young children.

Newtown notes from the bullet business

Echoing the NRA's sentiment, various leaders in firearms retail said they feel this isn't the right time to speak out about Newtown.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by this terrible tragedy.  We feel that further comment would be inappropriate,” said spokesperson for leading US arms distributor Smith & Wesson, Liz Sharp.

But other US business interests involved in the gun trade made concrete steps to withdraw themselves from guns, in what has become a public outcry against this latest in a series of mass-shootings. 

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday that it would sell its stake in Freedom Group, which manufactures the brand of rifles used in the shooting. 

It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate,” said the firm's press release, “There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.”

A Cerberus spokesman declined to comment on a Bloomberg report that the company founder's father, Martin Feinberg, lives in Newtown, Connecticut – a town now coming to grips with the tragedy that struck last weekend.

Feinberg reportedly told Bloomberg the shooting was “horrendous, truly horrendous.”

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Walmart pulled the firearm involved in the Newtown attack from Web sites Monday, after an article in liberal US media The Nation grilled the international superstore for popularizing the rifle. But a Walmart spokesman said its firearms have never been sold online.

We don’t sell guns online and we have made no change to the assortment of guns we sell in our stores,” said Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg.

We remain dedicated to the safe and responsible sale of firearms in areas of the country where they are sold. Part of our commitment to gun safety is our involvement in the 'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' coalition,” of which Republican New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is a member. 

Of all the gun retailers contacted and asked to comment on Newtown, Walmart was the only one that offered neither a refusal to comment nor “prayers” for the victims and their families.

Much as lobbyists and the firearms industry aim to address the issue of mass-shootings in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, Newtown residents and US civil society are struggling to find a way out of a legislative stalemate they believe is keeping guns in the hands of the murderers who claimed a host of American lives in 2012.

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