The National Rifle Association (NRA) — the largest gun rights advocacy group and one of the prevailing lobbying organizations in the United States — has pulled back from its social media presence following the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting last Friday that renewed a fierce debate about gun control in the country, and re-hoisted the organization as a key player in American politics. The organization's Facebook page hasn't been visible since Friday, suggesting that the NRA may have deactivated it temporarily to avoid heated feedback online. (Indeed, the threat of public outrage was quite real following Friday's shooting, with even the official Mass Effect page catching the anger of Facebook users after they identified a dubious connection to someone who was originally misrepresented as the shooter.) The NRA has also gone silent on Twitter, with the company's last tweet appearing on the morning of December 14th, which notified followers of "10 days of NRA giveaways."
As Adweek points out, it's not the first time the NRA has disappeared from social media outlets; the organization shut down one its "American Rifleman" Twitter account and temporarily stopped tweeting from its main account earlier this year following a movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Both of its accounts are relatively popular: the NRA has more than 62,800 fans at the time of this writing, and celebrated receiving 1.7 million likes on Facebook last week (the organization's actual membership far exceeds both of those tallies, however, at 4.3 million). If the organization's past behavior is any indication of what it will do in the future, it could just be waiting for public outrage to blow over — but with some lawmakers now determined to enact new gun control legislation, it's unlikely the NRA will be able to avoid the national conversation for long.