Updated Jan 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

NRA head Wayne LaPierre stepping down

Wayne LaPierre

Wayne LaPierre at the 152nd National Rifle Association (NRA) annual Covention in April 2023. Photo: Alex Wrobleswski/AFP via Getty Images

Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, plans to step down from his position at the end of the month, the company confirmed in a statement Friday.

Why it matters: The NRA is one of the country's most powerful lobbying groups and LaPierre has helped lead the organization since 1991.

The big picture: “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,” LaPierre said in a statement announcing his resignation.

  • LaPierre, 74, cited health reasons as the basis for his departure, the company said.
  • LaPierre will officially step down as CEO on Jan. 31. NRA President Charles Cotton announced NRA Board of Directors meeting Friday that he had accepted LaPierre's resignation.
  • Andrew Arulanandam — the NRA's current executive and head of general operations — will serve as interim CEO and executive vice president.

State of play: LaPierre’s resignation comes just days before he and other NRA officials are set to face a civil trial in New York.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the suit in 2020, accusing NRA chief executive LaPierre and other officials of fraud and mismanagement. The NRA has denied any wrongdoing.
  • The trial is set to begin Monday and is expected to last six weeks, per NBC News.

Zoom out: Under LaPierre's leadership, the NRA became a greater advocate for looser gun restrictions and a more influential force in politics, with its political endorsement being particularly sought after by Republicans, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • The NRA has been frequently criticized by gun control activists and organizations.
  • "The NRA has been in a doom spiral for years, and Wayne LaPierre's resignation is yet another massive setback for an organization that's already at rock bottom," John Feinblatt, president of the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement Friday.
  • LaPierre's legacy, Feinblatt added, would be one of "corruption, mismanagement, and the untold destruction gun violence has brought to every American community."

Go deeper: What to know about the NRA

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout with context and responses to the resignation announcement.

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