The National Rifle Association on Tuesday released a much-anticipated statement regarding the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The gun lobby promised to "offer meaningful contributions" to ensure the mass shooting, which left 20 young children dead, would never happen again. The horrific incident has renewed debate over the nation's gun control laws and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has promised to introduce an assault weapons ban to Congress in January.

"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 NRA said.

The pro-gun group went silent on Twitter after the mass shooting and apparently deactivated its own Facebook page to avoid inflaming the gun control debate. The NRA said it had waited five days to release a statement "[o]ut of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency."

The NRA will hold a news conference on Friday.