Four and a half days after a 20-year-old man carried legal guns into a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 small children and their educators, the National Rifle Association broke its silence on the Newtown massacre with a brief statement late Tuesday afternoon. There's not much information in the "important statement" other than that the NRA will be holding a "major" press conference in Washington this Friday and making "meaningful contributions." But the gun lobby did explain its much maligned social-media blackout as having to do with "respect for the families." Here's the full text:

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.

Earlier a source close to the NRA had told Fox News that the group was planning to "push back" against a wave of blame cast toward the group in a growing debate about guns in America — and likely about new legislation in Washington. The Fox report suggested the NRA might redirect the conversation toward "the First Amendment, and Hollywood, and the video games that teach young kids how to shoot heads." Tuesday's official letter suggests none of that, but Friday's press briefing sure will be interesting.

The social-media blackout appears to be over as well, with the @NRA handle tweeting the statement:

And the NRA's Facebook page is back up, with a post linking to the statement. The link to the statement actually doesn't work, and the comments, well, there are going to be a lot of comments.