WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — National Rifle Association officials have kept quiet in the wake of Friday’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and they also shut down their Facebook page and have not had any Twitter activity since Friday morning.
The powerful American pro-gun lobby’s Facebook page was deactivated on Saturday. The page had been celebrating its social media success last week with a posted photo thanking its 1.7 million “Likes” on the social network. And the typically active official NRA Twitter – which has over 63,000 followers — has not had a post since the morning of the attacks when it announced, “10 Days of NRA Giveaways – Enter today for a chance to win an auto emergency tool!”
The social media silence comes as many legislators and members of the media have begun calling for stricter laws on gun control after 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school. Lanza also killed his mother at their home.
Effort to restrict access to high-powered weapons is likely to face fierce opposition from many Republicans in Congress who say restrictions violate the U.S. Constitution’s right to bear arms.
Asked on “Fox News Sunday” why Americans would need to own semi-automatic weapons, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said, “Well, for the reason George Washington said: a free people should be an armed people. It ensures against the tyranny of the government, if they know that the biggest army is the American people.”
Gohmert added, “Once you start drawing the line, where do you stop? … Gun laws don’t work.”
However, many gun control supporters believe this is the time for legislative action.
“It’s time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do – not go to Congress and say, ‘What do you guys want to do?’ This should be his number one agenda,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
President Barack Obama campaigned on gun control in 2008, but he has expanded gun rights in his first four years in office, signing legislation that would allow people to carry weapons on Amtrak trains and in national parks.
U.S. lawmakers have not approved a major new gun law since 1994, Reuters reports.
Many believe that the NRA’s silence on the issue is not permanent.
“The move is most likely only a temporary one to avoid the heated debate that would have been certain to occur on the NRA’s wall,” writes TechCrunch.”Which in turn would have increased the pressure on the group to comment publicly at a time it clearly hopes to lay as low as possible.”
The NRA’s social media silence comes after the controversy set off in the wake of America’s last mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead. A secondary NRA Twitter account tweeted, “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” just hours after James Holmes went on a shooting spree in July.