The National Rifle Association’s board of directors voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Wayne LaPierre as the head of the powerful gun rights advocacy group amid investigations into its finances and allegations that its officers — including LaPierre — diverted millions of dollars to fund their lavish lifestyles.
The board voted 54-1 to reelect LaPierre as CEO/executive vice president at its annual meeting over the weekend in Houston, the NRA announced Monday. Former Republican Congressman Allen West was the only other candidate to receive a vote.
According to journalist Stephen Gutowski, seven of the board members in attendance did not vote.
The organization added in a statement that the vote was preceded by a “resolution overwhelmingly passed by NRA members” on Sunday “that declared support — past, present and future — for LaPierre.” It did not give further details.
“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.
The NRA went ahead with its convention despite calls to cancel it following the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 21 people and a racially-motivated massacre in Buffalo that killed 10 people on May 14.
In addition to LaPierre, who has been the NRA’s executive vice president since 1991, the board reelected Charles Cotton as NRA president, Lt. Col. Wilkes K. Lee as first vice president, and David Coy as second vice president.
West had launched a takeover campaign earlier this month after a group of NRA board members urged him to run in the wake of the scandals surrounding LaPierre.
New York Attorney General Letitia James sued to disband the organization in 2020, alleging that its top executives ignored nonprofit rules and diverted millions to pay for trips to the Bahamas — including use of a 108-foot yacht — safaris in Africa, expensive gifts and memberships at a ritzy golf club in Washington, DC.
A federal judge in March tossed James’ bid to break up the NRA, but allowed the bulk of her suit’s claims to proceed.
The three-day convention took place about 280 miles from Uvalde, where an 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15-style military assault rifle to massacre 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
The killings in Uvalde took place just 10 days after another 18-year-old shooter carrying an AR-15 mowed down 10 black people at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo.
Amid the back-to-back mass shootings, speakers at the NRA conference called for schools to be “hardened” against an attack, for an increased focus on mental health and for armed guards to be deployed to deter shooters.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott canceled an appearance to remain in Uvalde, but delivered virtual remarks to the gathering after coming under withering criticism.
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