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NRA says will join national guns dialogue

Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:35 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The National Rifle Association said Tuesday it is ready to "offer meaningful contributions" to help prevent more massacres, but offered no details.

The powerful gun lobby said in a statement posted on its website it was "shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders" 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," the 4 million-member gun-rights group said.

"The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

The statement said NRA officials were planning to hold a news conference in the Washington area Friday.

The NRA broke its silence the same day the White House said President Obama is "actively supportive" of a Democratic move to renew a federal ban on assault weapons during the next Congress.

The fallout from the massacre was landing in corporate boardrooms, as well.

Dick's Sporting Goods, with more than 500 stores, said in a statement on its website Tuesday it was pulling some weapons off its store shelves.

"We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, Conn., and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community," Dick's statement read.

"Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chain-wide."

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said it was getting out of the gun business entirely. Cerberus said it would divest itself of its Freedom Group gun manufacturing unit.

"It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," the company said in a release. "As a firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers.

"There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group."

Obama also supports legislation that would close a loophole concerning gun purchases at gun shows and possibly adding restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips.

Obama "is actively supportive of, for example, Senator [Dianne] Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

The president has talked with lawmakers who have expressed interest in considering gun-control legislation in the wake of Friday's shooting spree in Newtown, where 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunning down 20 elementary school-age children and six adults before killing himself.

"He is heartened ... by what we have all heard from some members of Congress who have been longtime opponents of gun-control measures," Carney said.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said she will introduce legislation that would reinstate the federal ban on assault rifles when the new Congress convenes in January. The ban expired in 2004, and while there have been attempts to renew it, no bill has reached the floor for a vote.

Carney said the president would also support legislation that would close the so-called gun show loophole that doesn't require background checks on gun purchases at gun shows and would prevent the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips.

"It's clear that as a nation we haven't done enough to address the scourge of gun violence in this country. It's a complex problem that requires more than one solution," Carney said. "It calls not only for re-examining our gun laws and how well we enforce them, but also for engaging mental health professionals, law enforcement officials, educators, parents and communities to find those solutions."

Obama also met with appropriate Cabinet members to discuss the issue.

Carney said he couldn't offer a timetable of the president's plans, nor what form they would take.

"He does want to move ... in the coming weeks, which is a fairly short period of time," the spokesman said, adding Obama, besides supporting legislation, "wants to expand the conversation beyond those specific areas of legislation to look at other ways we can address this problem."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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