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NRA Head Wayne LaPierre Resigns

The longtime face of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Wayne LaPierre, announced his resignation from the Second Amendment advocacy group on Jan. 5.

Citing health reasons for his departure, Mr. LaPierre said he is proud of his tenure with the organization and is looking forward to continuing to stand up for Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” Mr. LaPierre is quoted in a statement posted on the NRA’s website.

“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.”

The announcement of Mr. LaPierre’s resignation, effective Jan. 31, came just days before proceedings in a corruption lawsuit filed against the NRA, Mr. LaPierre, and other NRA executives by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James are set to begin next week.

Ms. James had originally petitioned the New York State Supreme Court to dissolve the NRA, but in March 2022 those claims were dismissed.

The court will hear Ms. James’s claims that Mr. LaPierre and former NRA officials Wilson Phillips, John Frazer, and Joshua Powell misused NRA funds to pay for personal expenses, including travel on private jets, in violation of New York law.

The defendants claim that Ms. James’s case is a politically motivated attempt to take down an organization she disagrees with.

NRA president Charles Cotton reportedly accepted the 74-year-old LaPierre’s resignation last Friday. In the NRA’s online statement, Mr. Cotton said the former CEO was leaving the organization more robust than it was when he started work in 1977.

Mr. LaPierre has served as CEO since 1991 and led the national gun rights through many political battles. Most recently, he led the NRA’s efforts along with other groups in pushing for laws to allow the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens without a permit, so-called “Constitutional carry.”

“Wayne is a towering figure in the fight for constitutional freedom, but one of his other talents is equally important: he built an organization that is bigger than him. Under the direction of Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA will continue to thrive—with a renewed energy in our business operations and grassroots advocacy. Our future is bright and secure,” Mr. Cotton is quoted as saying in the statement.

Andrew Arulanandam, executive and head of general operations for the NRA, will be interim CEO and executive vice president.

According to an article “Biography: Wayne LaPierre A Look at the Life and Career of the NRA’s Executive Director,” by Ben Garrett, Mr. LaPierre started with the NRA as a state liaison for the NRA Institute of Legislative Action (ILA), its lobbying group.

He also served as NRA-ILA’s director of state and local affairs before being named executive director of the body in 1986.

Mr. LaPierre became CEO of the NRA in 1991. Within two years, the country saw the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandated background checks for gun purchases, and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which outlawed certain types of semi-automatic rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

As a result of these and other gun control measures, the NRA experienced explosive growth and Mr. LaPierre became a familiar fixture in the news media. Known as outspoken and not easily intimidated, he has been both praised for his dedication and criticized for his speech.

In 2003, Mr. LaPierre took CNN to task for “deliberating faking” a story in which a CNN reporter claimed that AK 47 rifles were more powerful than other rifles of the same caliber.

In 2011 he called for then-Attorney General Eric Holder to resign in the wake of the “Fast and Furious” scandal. Fast and Furious was an operation in which the U.S. government allowed guns to be sold to Mexican drug cartels.

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