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The National Rifle Association on Monday announced that its board of directors had re-elected Wayne LaPierre as CEO and executive vice president, despite the organization being hit by financial woes and allegations over its spending.
LaPierre had faced a challenge from Lt. Col. Allen West, but the organization said that West had ultimately only received one vote — and that the vote was preceded by a resolution declaring support “past, present and future” for LaPierre.
The re-election comes as the gun rights advocacy group has been under siege from gun control activists in the wake of the deadly shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. Gunmen killed 10 in a supermarket in Buffalo, and 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
Those shootings have been followed by fresh calls for gun restrictions — calls that have been fiercely rebuffed by the NRA and LaPierre, who say instead that mental health and school security should be the focus.
“Like all Americans, we grieve for the people of Uvalde and Texas,” LaPierre said in a statement. “And as we do, we join in the call to support brave law enforcement like Deputy Thoman, improve mental health services, and make our schools more safe and secure. Our children are our most treasured and precious resource — making schools safe is a national emergency.”
“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,” he said.
The NRA has been rocked by scandal and financial woes in recent years. New York Attorney General Letitia James sought to dissolve the organization via a lawsuit, in which court proceedings alleged that millions had been diverted for personal trips by LaPierre and others, as well as no-show contracts and other questionable expenses. That lawsuit failed, but a separate one to oust LaPierre and other top executives continues.
The organization sought bankruptcy in 2021, but that was dismissed by a judge. Since then, the Associated Press reports that the organization has engaged in mass layoffs and has reportedly dramatically cut its spending, including what it spends on political candidates.
LaPierre has been known for his often-uncompromising stance on gun rights since taking the helm of the organization in the early 90s. While he has supported some limited gun control moves, such as restrictions on bump stocks, he has repeatedly rejected the idea that more restrictions on the Second Amendment is the answer to mass shootings.
“There are absolutely certain things we can and must do,” he said in his speech at the NRA Convention last week. “Where we part ways with [President Biden] and many in his party, is on the policy question… what we can and should do to prevent the hate-filled, vile monsters that walk among us from committing their evil.”
“Restricting a fundamental, human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer,” he said. “It never has been.”
Fox News’ Kyle Morris and The Associated Press contributed to this report.