Bash.Gun.Debate _00004706
Latest massacre heats up gun debate
02:58 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Three days after fatal school shooting in Connecticut, the NRA remains silent online

National Rifle Association hasn't tweeted since Friday's killings

The NRA's Facebook page has been deactivated

Social media expert: NRA's silence is a missed opportunity to have a dialogue on guns

CNN  — 

UPDATE Tuesday 4:30 pm ET: The NRA broke its recent silence Tuesday afternoon with a statement saying the group was “shocked, saddened and heartbroken” by the Newtown shootings and is prepared “to help make sure this never happens again.” The gun lobby has scheduled a news conference for Friday.

Despite an escalating nationwide debate on gun control in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the National Rifle Association has remained conspicuously silent.

As of Monday evening the largest and most powerful gun-rights lobbying group in the U.S. had not posted anything to its website since Friday morning, when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton and killed 26 people, 20 of them children.

The NRA’s Facebook page has been deactivated, and visitors are redirected to a bare-bones page where comments are disabled (although “Likes” are still allowed). As of Tuesday morning Its Twitter account, which typically posts several times a day, had been quiet for four days.

In a statement provided to CNN Friday about the shootings, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said only, “Until the facts are thoroughly known, NRA will not have any comment.”

This social-media blackout after a mass shooting is not unprecedented for the NRA. The gun lobby didn’t tweet for 10 days last July following the fatal shooting of 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. However, an ill-timed tweet by “American Rifleman,” the official NRA journal, hours afterward said, “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” The NRA later said the tweeter was unaware of the tragedy.