The message was widely circulated around Twitter for several hours this morning, before the organization first deleted the tweet, then nixed their entire account. Commenters also noticed the website appeared to be down early in the afternoon, supposedly for maintenance. A representative from the NRA’s publications division wasn’t immediately available to comment.
By 2:30 pm, the website for the American Rifleman was back up, but links to the publication’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were removed, and the accounts themselves no longer exist. Here is what the menu bar looked like earlier this year versus this afternoon:
This would not be the first time the NRA is accused of insensitivity following a tragic shooting spree. Thirteen years and thirteen miles is all that separates Aurora from Colorado’s last massacre, when two teenaged gunmen killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. Back then, the NRA ignored pleas by the city and its residents to relocate their annual convention away from Denver, instead inviting 3000 gun advocates to town less than two weeks after the massacre in the city suburbs. And that winter, the NRA gave thousands of dollars to state lawmakers to beat back attempts at strengthening gun regulations.
NRA responds: “A single individual, unaware of events in Colorado, tweeted a comment that is being completely taken out of context,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a comment issued to CNN. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the community. NRA will not have any further comment until all the facts are known.”