The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) announced Friday that Wayne LaPierre would step down from his position as chief executive, effective January 31.
LaPierre on resignation: ‘I will never stop supporting the NRA’
“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement. “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.”
LaPierre said unspecific health reasons are part of the reason why he is stepping down.
The NRA has been led by LaPierre for over 30 years. LaPierre is an outspoken defender of gun rights in the United States.
In recent decades, many Americans have urged the US government to impose stricter gun control measures. LaPierre has often dismissed tougher gun legislation, even after massacres such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 and the Parkland high school killings in February 2018.
The NRA, which is 150 years old, is an influential power in US elections. The group spends millions of dollars in favor of politicians, particularly conservative Republicans, who are against gun reform.
LaPierre faces New York corruption trial
The decision by LaPierre comes just days before a New York trial that will examine his leadership role as the head of the gun rights group.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has accused LaPierre of using NRA money on an extravagant lifestyle, including expenditures on private jets and fancy vacations. NRA leaders are accused of keeping these expenditures secret.
James wants to ban LaPierre and other NRA figures from leadership roles in any non-profit or charitable organization in New York.
James said Friday that “the end of the Wayne LaPierre era at the NRA is an important victory in our case.” At the same time, she said LaPierre’s resignation “will not insulate him from accountability.”
The trial is set to begin on Monday. The NRA has called the New York lawsuit a “baseless premeditated attack.”
wd/sms (AFP, AP)