The National Rifle Association said it was grieving for those lives lost at the Washington Navy Yard in a short statement the gun-rights group posted to its website Monday evening.
“We grieve and pray for those who lost their lives and for those hurt at the Washington Navy Yard,” the group wrote on its homepage.
Navy subcontractor Aaron Alexis opened fire in a Navy Yard building, killing a dozen people and wounding others in a Monday morning rampage in the nation’s capital.
The shooting at the Navy Yard was the most deadly mass shooting since a sole gunman shot 26 students and teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last year. The N.R.A. waited a full week before responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. In late December, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre gave an extended, fiery speech that called for armed guards in every school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. “Since when did the word “gun” automatically become a bad word?”
The NRA has long fought against increasing gun control in the country and is credited with helping to scuttle the post-Sandy-Hook push in Congress for expanded background checks. The group argues that such gun control laws infringe on the freedoms of Americans and won’t prevent gun violence or the headline-grabbing mass shootings that have become common.
Reaction began filtering out of Capitol Hill–less than a mile from where the shooting took place. Sen. Diane Feinstein who attempted to get an assault weapons ban resurrected following the Newtown shooting released a statement mourning the lost lives and calling for a legislative response.
“Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country,” the continued. “We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, though, criticized those quickly jumping on gun control reform in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting.
“I think we can wait a day or two before talking about, having these politicians and these bloggers trying to get political points,” he said.
But, co-host Mika Brzezinski countered: “It’s very frustrating to watch these things happen again and again and again and for it to be kind of obvious what the problem is.”