The National Rifle Association claims its membership is soaring in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, with 8,000 new members reportedly joining the pro-gun group each day.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren claims that "a source at the NRA" reported, after consulting a memo prepared by the group's membership division, that the organization is registering an average of around 8,000 new members each day.
"While this broadly mirrors trends seen after similar incidents in the past, the surge in membership this time is said to dwarf trends discerned in previous years," Van Susteren writes on her blog. Fox News also reports that contributions to the NRA have increased since the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre, in which 28 people, including 20 children, were shot to death.
The NRA, which claims 4.3 million members, had been noticeably quiet in the wake of the tragic shooting. The group deactivated its Facebook page, halted its Twitter activity and responded to media queries with "no comment."
But the group broke its silence late Tuesday, issuing the following statement:
"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughter-- 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 plans to hold a major news conference on Friday, and the group's Facebook and Twitter accounts are once again active.
Sales of guns, which were already soaring following President Barack Obama's reelection last month, have skyrocketed nationwide in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. Assault weapons, which President Obama has signalled a willingness to ban, have been especially hot sellers. Walmart stores in five states have sold out of assault rifles, according to The Raw Story.
Another hot-selling item: bulletproof kids' backpacks.