The National Rifle Association, the influential lobbying group that is a driving force behind America's lax gun laws, on Tuesday released its first statement since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people. Read the statement below:

National Rifle Association of America 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.

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.

The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.