Amid a public outcry over the massacre of 26 people, including 20 children, America's powerful gun lobby finally broke its silence with a promise to make "meaningful contributions" to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Five days after the deadly shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, last week, the largest gun rights group in the US announced a news conference in Washington DC on Friday to address the issue.
"The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) 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 said.
"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," it added.
The group's statement continued: "The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again"
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's call to action at Sunday's vigil for the victims of the Newtown massacre has anti-gun advocates thinking that they may see progress, even though the president avoided details.
Obama Monday discussed the shootings with Vice President Joe Biden and at least three cabinet secretaries, but press secretary Jay Carney answered a slew of reporters' questions by saying he did not "have a specific agenda to announce."
Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein, one of the principal authors of the gun control law that expired in 2004, announced that she has been working on an updated bill for the past year and will introduce it on the first day of next year's Senate session.
Obama is on record backing an assault weapons ban but has made no visible political effort to support one, which Feinstein hopes to change.
Republican Speaker John Boehner on Friday expressed sympathy for the Newtown victims and said the House "stands ready to assist" the community but mentioned no legislative action. His spokesman on Monday said he had no additional comment on any proposed gun laws.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his organization is in regular contact with the White House and is encouraged by Obama's message. But he does not believe Obama can make sufficient progress without Congress.
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