"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.