Pallbearers carry a casket out of St. Rose of Lima...

Pallbearers carry a casket out of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church after funeral services for James Mattioli in Newtown, Conn. Mattioli, 6, was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (Dec. 18, 2012) Credit: AP Photo Julio Cortez

The National Rifle Association broke its silence Tuesday about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut, saying it is "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

Noting that the NRA is "made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters," the country's oldest sportsmen's group said "we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown."

"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 said.

The group said it is planning "to hold a major news conference" Friday, and "details will be released to the media at the appropriate time."

Gun control has become a hot-button issue after a lone gunman burst into Sandy Hook Friday and killed 20 children and six adults.

Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16. It is similar to the weapon used in a recent shopping mall shooting in Oregon and other deadly attacks around the United States. Versions of the AR-15 were outlawed in this country under the 1994 assault weapons ban, but the law expired in 2004.

With AP

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