NRA chief, one of the most powerful figures in US gun policy, says he’s resigning days


NEW YORK: The longtime head of the National Rifle Association said Friday (Jan 5) he is resigning, just days before the start of a civil trial over allegations he diverted millions of dollars from the powerful gun rights organization to pay for personal travel, security and other perks.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and chief executive officer, said his departure is effective Jan 31. The trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him, the NRA and others who have served as organization executives is scheduled to start on Monday. LaPierre and ex-NRA President Oliver North are among the witnesses expected to testify.

LaPierre, 74, has led the NRA’s day-to-day operations since 1991, acting as the face and vehement voice of its gun rights agenda. He once warned of “jack-booted government thugs” seizing guns, called for armed guards in every school after a spate of shootings, and condemned foes backing gun control measures as “opportunists” who “exploit tragedy for gain”.

In recent years though, the NRA has been beset by dwindling membership and financial troubles, along with lingering questions about LaPierre’s leadership and spending. One of LaPierre’s top lieutenants, Andrew Arulanandam, will assume his roles on an interim basis, the organization said.

“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement released by the organization. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”

James, a Democrat, accuses LaPierre and other executives of illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the NRA and spending organization funds on personal trips, no-show contracts and other questionable expenditures. LaPierre is accused in the lawsuit of spending millions on private jet flights and personal security and accepting expensive gifts – such as African safaris and use of a 32m yacht – from vendors.



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