- The National Rifle Association said its "deepest sympathies" are with the families and victims of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre.
- The NRA's comment came a day after an 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR-15 style long rifle killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
- The incident is the latest in a series of shootings at schools and other public spaces that gun-control advocates blame on loose U.S. firearm laws.
- Ex-President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the NRA's annual convention in Houston this week, as are Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and other prominent Republicans.
The National Rifle Association on Wednesday said its "deepest sympathies" are with the families and victims of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre — the latest in a series of mass shootings that gun-control advocates have blamed on loose firearm laws.
The NRA's comment came a day after an 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR-15-style long rifle killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
It also came two days before the powerful gun rights advocacy group, which has more than 5 million members, is due to begin its annual convention in Houston, Texas, a less-than-five-hour drive away from Uvalde.
"Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime," the NRA said in its statement Wednesday.
"On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services," the group said.
"Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure," the NRA continued.
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the convention. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, along with a number of other prominent Republicans, are also set to attend the event.
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized Republican senators for not bucking the NRA by voting for gun restrictions.
"The other side is all too ready to bow in obeisance to the NRA," Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.
In a Tuesday address in which he pushed for tighter gun restrictions, President Joe Biden said that "we as a nation have to ask, 'When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?'" He further criticized the industry on Wednesday.
"It's just sick that gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them some of the biggest profits," the president said in a tweeted statement.
On Tuesday night, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who was serving as a House member during the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in his district that left 20 children dead, anticipated the NRA suggesting that a "deranged" gunman was the sole factor in the Texas slayings.
"We have mass shooting after mass shooting and, you know, spare me the bullshit about mental illness," Murphy told reporters.
"We don't have any more mental illness than any other country in the world," he said.
Murphy earlier addressed his Republican colleagues on the Senate floor with a question about their refusal to vote for tougher gun restrictions.
"Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate, why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in position of authority if your answer as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing?" Murphy asked.
The NRA is a major donor to Republican senators.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2019 listed the amount of money donated by the gun group to 50 senators who had accepted the most contributions. It was topped by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who had received more than $13.6 million from the NRA.
In second place, with nearly half as much in NRA donations, was Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., at $6.9 million.
The Brady Campaign is named after James Brady. He was serving as White House press secretary under President Ronald Reagan when both Brady and Reagan were shot in March 1981 outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr.
Brady became an advocate for gun control laws after the shooting. He died in 2014 at age 73, from what was officially ruled a homicide, as a result of the gunshot wound he suffered 33 years earlier.