Controversial NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre Wins Another Term

Gun Rights

Topline

The National Rifle Association board of directors re-elected Wayne LaPierre as its CEO on Monday, extending the longtime NRA leader’s term for another year at the group’s annual meeting in Houston, amid renewed pressure from gun control supporters following a deadly school shooting in Texas and internal frustration about the NRA’s operations.

Key Facts

LaPierre defeated former Republican Rep. Allen West in a 54-1 vote to serve as the organization’s CEO and executive vice president, Bloomberg and Stephen Gutowski from firearm news site The Reload reported.

A former NRA board member, West told Bloomberg earlier this month he was seeking to push back against the firearm group’s culture of “corruption, cronyism and nepotism,” but the only board member to vote for him Monday was reportedly Phil Journey, a Kansas judge who has sought to reform alleged financial mismanagement within the NRA.

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At the organization’s annual meeting last weekend, a group of NRA members also passed a resolution signaling their support for LaPierre’s leadership.

Key Background

LaPierre has served as the NRA’s leader since 1991. The group’s staunch opposition to tighter gun laws—sometimes explained by LaPierre in near-apocalyptic terms—has often drawn controversy. LaPierre reacted to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by stating “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and several Republican politicians declined to attend the NRA’s annual meeting this year after 19 children were killed in an elementary school shooting last week in Uvalde, Texas. But controversy over the NRA has extended beyond its usual political opponents. Three years ago, LaPierre and other NRA executives were accused of overspending on personal expenses like clothes, travel and housing, and the group accused key ad agency Ackerman McQueen of billing issues and other improprieties in a series of lawsuits that the two parties eventually settled earlier this year. Meanwhile, former NRA board president Oliver North—best known for his role in the Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal—stepped down in 2019 after LaPierre claimed North threatened to leak “destructive allegations” unless LaPierre bowed to pressure to resign. North said he was merely trying to reform the organization’s financial practices.

Tangent

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued the NRA in 2020 over allegations of financial misconduct by LaPierre and other senior leaders, though in March, a New York state court judge tossed out James’ push to dissolve the tax-exempt group. For its part, the NRA tried to declare bankruptcy last year and reincorporate in Texas instead of New York, but a judge dismissed the case after James argued it was an attempt to avoid her office’s lawsuit.

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