The National Rifle Association (NRA) has again chosen Wayne LaPierre to lead the gun rights organization as it goes on the defensive against renewed calls for gun restrictions following the recent mass shootings in the United States.
The NRA said Monday its board of directors overwhelmingly re-elected LaPierre as CEO and executive vice president. The organization gathered in Houston last week for its annual convention, days after Uvalde, Texas, saw one of the country’s worst mass shootings.
The re-election of LaPierre, who has held the position since 1991, indicates that the NRA is maintaining its rigid opposition to gun control despite rising shootings and allegations that the CEO was using the organization to enrich himself.
“The NRA is strong, safe and secure,” Charles Cotton said in a statement, following his re-election as chairman of the group’s board. “We have never been in a better position to protect the Second Amendment or lend our collective voices in support of important issues such as school safety.”
Last week a gunman killed 19 children and two educators at Robb Primary School in Uvalde. The shooting is the worst since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012 and has reopened debates about school safety and the NRA’s role in blocking gun control.
During the NRA convention, speakers including former President Donald Trump repeated calls for increased mental health services and safer schools to prevent future shootings.
LaPierre, in a statement following his re-election, reiterated the organization’s approach saying that “making schools safe is a national emergency.”
After the shooting, the NRA continued to pressure Republicans while Democrats made emotional calls for increased gun control.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed the NRA and Republicans’ ‘obedience’ to the organization for why gun control measures can’t pass through the chamber. .
“The problem in the Senate is simple: too many members across the aisle are out of touch with the suffering of the American people,” the New York Democrat said during a speech on the floor. “Too many on this side care more about the NRA than the families who mourn the victims of gun violence.”
The United States has seen more than 3,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, according to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research organization. Since the start of Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, there have been 14 mass shootings across the United States in states including Tennessee, California, Florida and Colorado, according to the nonprofit.
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled last week that Republicans were willing to find common ground with Democrats, GOP members of the chamber blocked a domestic terrorism measure that Schumer described it as a legislative vehicle that “will allow us to take action against guns”.
In 2020, New York attorney Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA, alleging that LaPierre misused the organization’s funds. James declared victory after a judge blocked the NRA’s attempt to declare bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas.
Lt. Col. Allen West, a former Republican Representative, challenged LaPierre for the role. West had earlier told Bloomberg that he was seeking to unseat LaPierre for what he called “corruption, cronyism and nepotism in the NRA”, saying it was eroding trust in the organization. However, West only got one vote.
Newsweek contacted the NRA for comment.
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