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CEO of the NRA Steps Down

Wayne LaPierre has led the day-to-day operation of the Second Amendment advocacy group since 1991

CEO of the NRA Steps Down

The long-time leader of the National Rifle Association is resigning.

Wayne LaPierre announced on Jan. 5 that he will leave the gun rights organization at the end of the month. The 74-year-old cited health concerns as his motivation to resign as CEO and executive vice president. 

"With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA," LaPierre said in the NRA's press release that was first reported by Fox News. "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."

Charles Cotton, the president of the NRA, accepted LaPierre’s resignation at a board meeting in Texas.

Wayne has done as much to protect Second Amendment freedom as anyone,” Cotton said in the press release. “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.”

The NRA’s current executive and head of general operations, Andrew Arulanandam, will take over as interim CEO and executive vice president following LaPierre’s departure. Cotton said Arulanandam’s leadership will bring “renewed energy in our business operations and grassroots advocacy.”

“Our future is bright and secure,” said Cotton.

LaPierre is currently being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has called the NRA a “terrorist organization.”

James sued the organization for alleged “fraud and abuse” in August of 2020, accusing the NRA executive of using the corporation as a “personal piggy bank” and causing the loss of more than $64 million in three years. Furthermore, the Democrat accused LaPierre of spending $500,000 over three years on vacations, black car services, and hair and make-up services for his wife, per NBC News.

The NRA fought to stop the lawsuit, which sought to dissolve the organization which was incorporated in New York in 1871. The organization said the Attorney General was leading “a blatant and malicious retaliation campaign” because of her personal views on guns, per NPR.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen ruled in September 2022 that James’s lawsuit could move forward.

James celebrated LaPierre’s resignation as an “important victory.”

“LaPierre's resignation validates our claims against him, but it will not insulate him or the NRA from accountability," James wrote in a statement. "Our case will move ahead, and we look forward to proving the facts in court."

LaPierre joined the NRA in 1977 and took over as executive vice president and CEO in 1991. He was reelected in May 2022 by the NRA’s board of directors – defeating challenger Lieutenant Colonel Allen West who received one vote. 

“I am honored to continue my work for the NRA, and to join our members in their campaign to promote responsible gun ownership and defend Second Amendment freedom for all law-abiding Americans,” LaPierre said in a statement at the time.

LaPierre’s resignation goes into effect on Jan. 31. The trial against him and other NRA leaders begins in New York on Jan. 8.

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