The National Rifle Association's Facebook and Twitter pages went back online Tuesday evening at the conclusion of a day marked by criticism of the NRA for going dark on social media and failing to address the Newtown, Conn., massacre that left 20 students, six adults and the shooter, Adam Lanza, dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The NRA's Facebook page went live again with the posting first of a graphic advertising a press conference scheduled for Friday in Washington, D.C., closely followed by the sharing of the full text of, and a link to, its first statement since the Newtown massacre, which it sent out to the media and posted on its website late Tuesday afternoon as the criticism reached its peak.
"The 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 reads. "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 NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
There was no indication or comment provided to explain why the NRA Facebook page had been down since shortly after the Newtown shootings Friday morning.
Between last Friday and Tuesday, the URL for the organization's Facebook page -- which has racked up more than 1.7 million "likes" -- redirected visitors instead to the Facebook homepage, and only a Facebook page for the official NRA blog, also silent between last Friday and Tuesday, remained to maintain the organization's presence on the ubiquitous social networking site.
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The NRA's Twitter account has been accessible ever since last Friday's school massacre, but the first tweet from the gun organization since the tragedy came Tuesday afternoon, when the account tweeted out a link to the Tuesday statement accompanied by the following short message: "Important Statement from the National Rifle Association."
The tweet had only been retweeted 513 times and favorited 125 times within five hours of its being posted, despite the NRA account's massive reach on Twitter.
The last tweet before the Tuesday missive came the morning of the shooting, and included a photo of an ad for its holiday giveaway campaign accompanied by the following message: "10 Days of NRA Giveaways - Enter today for a chance to win an auto emergency tool!"
The fact that the official statement of the largest pro-gun group in the United States was proclaimed as an "important statement from the National Rifle Association" has drawn the ire of many who believe the group should offer a more robust public response to the Newtown school shooting, which continues to grip the nation.