The National Rifle Association (NRA) has again selected Wayne LaPierre to head the gun rights organization as it goes on the defensive against renewed calls for firearms restrictions in the wake of recent U.S. mass shootings.
The NRA said on Monday its board had overwhelmingly re-elected LaPierre to serve as its CEO and executive vice president. The organization gathered in Houston last week for its annual convention, days after Uvalde, Texas, saw one of the country’s worst mass shootings.
The re-election of LaPierre, who has served in the role since 1991, indicates the NRA is maintaining its rigid opposition to gun control despite the uptick in shootings and allegations the CEO was using the organization for self-enrichment.
“The NRA stands strong, safe and secure,” Charles Cotton, said in a statement, following his re-election as president of the group’s board. “We have never been better positioned to protect the Second Amendment or lend our collective voices in support of important issues like school security.”
A gunman last week killed 19 children and two educators at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The shooting is the worst since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, and reopened debates over school safety and the NRA’s role in blocking gun control.
During the NRA convention, speakers, which included former President Donald Trump, repeated calls for increased mental health services and enhanced security at schools to prevent future shootings.
LaPierre, in a statement following his re-election, reiterated the organization’s approach saying, “making schools safe is a national emergency.”
“The problem in the Senate is simple: Too many members on the other side of the aisle are disconnected from the suffering of the American people,” the New York Democrat said during a floor speech. “Too many members on that side care more about the NRA than they do about families who grieve victims of gun violence.”
The U.S. has seen more than 3,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a research nonprofit. Since the beginning of Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, there have been 14 mass shootings in the U.S. in states, including Tennessee, California, Florida and Colorado, according to the nonprofit.
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled last week that Republicans were open to finding a middle ground with Democrats, the chamber’s GOP members blocked a domestic terrorism measure Schumer described as a legislative vehicle that “will let us take action on guns.”
In 2020, New York Attorney Letitia James took legal action against the NRA, alleging that LaPierre improperly used the organization’s funds. James declared victory after a judge blocked the NRA’s attempt to declare bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas.
Lt. Col. Allen West, a former Republican representative, challenged LaPierre for the role. West earlier told Bloomberg he was seeking to topple LaPierre over what he called “corruption, cronyism and nepotism at the NRA,” saying it eroded trust in the organization. However, West only got one vote.
Newsweek has reached out to the NRA for comment.