The National Rifle Association’s board of directors voted Monday to re-elect longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre, signaling that the gun rights group isn’t changing direction despite a rise in mass shootings and its own internal turmoil.
LaPierre has been in charge of the NRA’s day-to-day operations since 1991 and has shaped its no-compromise approach to lobbying against gun control, even after New York’s attorney general accused him of using the group as his “personal piggy bank.”
The NRA said in a statement that the vote was “almost unanimous,” as a rival candidate, former Republican congressman Allen West, received support from only one board member.
The vote occurred at the end of the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston, 300 miles east of Uvalde, where last week an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
The Uvalde rampage has sparked renewed calls for gun control measures and, on Monday, President Joe Biden said a new ban on assault-style weapons might reduce “mass murders.”
The NRA has long opposed most restrictions on buying firearms, and LaPierre said in a statement Monday that he supported improved mental health services and ways to “make our schools more safe and secure,” which he did not specify.
Active shooter incidents last year surged by more than 50 percent from 2020 and nearly 97 percent from 2017, the FBI said last week. Guns have overtaken vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and teenagers.
LaPierre’s position atop the NRA has been threatened by allegations that he used its money for personal expenses, including flights to the Bahamas on private jets. The NRA filed for bankruptcy last year, but a judge rejected the filing, ruling that it was financially sound and was using the bankruptcy process in bad faith to avoid scrutiny from New York authorities.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is seeking LaPierre’s ouster in a lawsuit she filed in 2020 over his expenses, alleged gifts from vendors and alleged no-show contracts for associates.