Embattled National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre feared for his safety after mass shootings in recent years, forcing him to take refuge aboard a friend's luxury yacht, the gun rights advocate testified.
LaPierre made the admission in a deposition connected to the NRA's bankruptcy case in Dallas.
"They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under. And I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting," LaPierre said.
"And all of us were struggling with how to deal with that type situation with a private citizen with the amount of threat that we were having. And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, 'Thank God I'm safe, nobody can get me here.' And that's how it happened. That's why I used it."
LaPierre was questioned why he didn't pay the yacht's owner, Hollywood producer Stanton McKenzie, for its use or cite it in conflict-of-interest forms.
"I actually thought that given the security threat that I was under and the fact that NRA was — was at almost a loss as to how to protect somebody with the amount of threat that I was having, that — that my work and the threat that came with it, this was — was a place that I could go and be safe, and it was related to that that I — that I — that I did it," he said.
LaPierre acknowledged that the craft, dubbed the Illusions, was always fully stocked with food when he used it, included two water scooters and had a crew of at least three people on board, including a cook.
His testimony was mocked by gun control activists, who seized upon his oft-repeated line that, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?" tweeted Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.
Watts, author of "Fight Like a Mother," also ridiculed LaPierre's stated need for protection in "the summer after the Sandy Hook shooting."
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A gunman killed 20 children and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"He grossly tried to link the Sandy Hook School shooting and his use of the yacht, saying he started using it as a secure location 'the summer after' the mass shooting," Watts wrote.
"The urgency of this purported security concern for LaPierre’s safety — which required him to set sail — is questionable considering that the Sandy Hook School shooting happened in December — six months before 'the summer.'”