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LaPierre out at National Rifle Association

LaPierre out at National Rifle Association

No one has been more the personification of the National Rifle Association (NRA) than Wayne LaPierre.  He joined the NRA in 1978 as a legislative aide.  He became director in 1986 and vice president and chief executive officer in 1991.

The NRA president’s title has been more or less honorary – serving as a high visibility spokesperson.  Among the most notable NRA presidents was actor Charlton Heston.  He famously held up a rifle and dared anyone to take it from his “cold dead hands.”

Former White House official Oliver North served as president of the NRA for six months, from September of 2018 to April of 2019.  His resignation was the result of a “power struggle” with LaPierre.

LaPierre insisted on being the face and the voice of the NRA, especially since the death of Heston.  It was one of the issues for North.  Earlier, the NRA hired former CPAC President David Keene as its president.  Keene was considered to be a very effective and persuasive communicator.  LaPierre never allowed Keene to be out front – which was a bad move for the image and reputation of the NRA.

As a Second Amendment advocacy organization, the NRA is bound to be controversial – especially with the rise of an anti-gun lobby and the number of mass shootings.  LaPierre autocratic style made the NRA more controversial than necessary.  That was due to his extreme rhetoric and a number of personal scandals.

Anti-gun advocates saw the NRA as a powerful lobby that used political donations to “persuade” legislators.  It was never the money that gave the NRA so much clout in Washington.  It was the huge membership and pro-NRA voters in virtually every congressional district.  Political donations tend to go in support of candidates and incumbents already predisposed to the donor’s issue.  It is the voters who elect them.

While the NRA was considered a conservative Republican lobbying group, LaPierre’s policy was to support Republicans and Democrats who supported NRA positions.   LaPierre’s support for Democrat incumbents over Republican pro-gun candidates drew occasional criticism from the GOP.

In more recent years, the political power of the NRA declined – along with donations and membership. Much of that was attributed to LaPierre’s autocratic and opulent lifestyle at the expense of the organization.

LaPierre has been accused of spending NRA funds on personal expenses, including personal travel on private jets, family trips, lavish dinners and hotel accommodations, luxury items and expensive clothing.  The misuse of funds and policy differences led to North attempting to oust LaPierre from his position in the NRA.  When that failed, North resigned.

New York Attorney General Latitia James filed a suit against the NRA to shut it down for alleged violations of state not-for-profit tax law – claiming the misuse of millions of dollars of NRA money.  LaPierre resigned on the eve of that case going to trial.  A co-defendant, Joshua Powell, settled his case by pleading guilty and paying a $100,000 fine.

LaPierre was said to have resigned due to poor health.  Neither he nor his attorney would reveal what the health issues were, and none were obvious at this time.  It is more likely that the NRA Board could no longer tolerate the credible allegations of financial misconduct and the significant decline in NRA membership and contributions.

Whatever the reasons, LaPierre’s departure from the NRA is a long overdue good thing.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

8 Comments

  1. Dan tyree

    The NRA will survive. And every state has gun rights groups that are very effective. Like the New York rifle and pistol association. They are doing a great job. People with any kind of smarts know that the aim of the left is to destroy the gun rights in America. But we are going to stick together and welcome another CEO and will probably be stronger than ever. Wayne LaPierre is has accomplished great things for gun owners but perhaps it’s time for him to step down. The allegations against him might or might not be true. But we will survive as americas oldest civil rights organization

    • larry Horist

      Dan … I am not a member, but have a number of good friends who served on the Board. Based on what they told me over the years, LaPierre changed after Charlton Heston was gone. The Board has had problems with him for years. I fear that the accusation of financial mismanagement are true. But I fully agree that the NRA will not only survive but may be even more influential in the future,

      • Dan tyree

        So good riddance. Now we can repair our reputation and grow

  2. FRANK STETSON

    I guess losing the slush fund that enabled your lavish lifestyle would affect your health. Good luck Peppy Lepew and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Maybe NRA will get a better grasp on reality with the next Fuhrer.

    • Dan tyree

      Frank we would be honored to have you join us. We need people like you. Stand with our winning team. We welcome all freedom lovers.

  3. Frank stetson

    Apparently not. My inputs to the nra directly did not illicit a response even though they probably would sell more guns.

    Besides, I’m not big on joining trade organizations that derive big bucks from manufacturing. I like my groups to be more pure, in intent.

    Follow the money, always.

    • Dan tyree

      Yes. Ask your senator from NJ

      • Frank stetson

        Cheap shot as I said he got lucky the first time; how stupid or arrogant can these guys be? Toss him.

        Not my guy though; I am a SuperBooker fan myself as born next door to newark. Great speaker, lots of fun to follow as he gets into knife fights, runs into burning buildings, shovels walks for little old ladies, and tries to figure which gender to date….. he’s lots of fun and serious legislator.

        But if you are poking fun at nj corruption, pretty low bar. Don’t do it here though, still plenty of room at the Meadowlands swamps. Haven’t even found Hoffa yet. We will have you singing sopranos in no time.

        Lately, I’ve been enjoying nj’s best. Fralinger’s salt water taffy and James Candy macaroons, oh my. Davidovich Bobka, really Brooklyn, but nj for online. Just did Star Tavern’s famous pizza near newark too. And it was. Taylor Pork roll, but the real thing, not what the tourists get. Next is the famous tomato pie near trenton. What the hell is that, but gotta have me some. Not my favorite state, but we make it work.