Washington, Jan 5 (EFE).- Wayne LaPierre announced Friday his resignation as president of the National Rifle Association, after more than 30 years at the helm of the organization that defends the right of United States citizens to own and carry firearms, and a few days before a trial against him and other NRA leaders on corruption charges is set to begin.
“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,” LaPierre, 74, said in a statement.
“My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever,” added LaPierre, citing health reasons for his resignation.
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1791, protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
LaPierre, whose resignation is effective Jan. 31, and three other current and former NRA leaders face a civil lawsuit filed in 2020 by New York Attorney General Letitia James that alleges the defendants violated laws governing nonprofit organizations and misappropriated millions of dollars in NRA funds to support luxurious lifestyles.
Opening arguments are scheduled for early next week in Manhattan. James was seeking to oust LaPierre from his position and will now seek to bar LaPierre and the other defendants from holding leadership positions in any nonprofit organization operating in New York, as well as fines.
The NRA, which was founded in 1871 and claims nearly five million members on its website, has for decades been one of the most powerful and influential lobbying groups in the United States opposing gun regulations.
It is a regular target of criticism when mass shootings occur in the United States, and the organization defends itself by claiming that its critics are trying to infringe on the right to bear arms enshrined in the Constitution.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the NRA’s revenue has dwindled due to allegations of corruption, and its revenue of $211 million in 2022 was 40 percent lower than in 2018.
During that time, dues paid by members dropped by more than half and spending on lawyers increased significantly. EFE