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Wayne LaPierre’s Last Day as NRA CEO: What You Need to Know About His Legacy of Corruption and Destruction


Today is Wayne LaPierre’s final day as NRA CEO —  he announced his planned resignation from his role days before the start of the trial in Attorney General of The State of New York v. NRA. The case centers on blockbuster allegations by New York Attorney General Letitia James that NRA leaders, including LaPierre, improperly diverted millions of dollars from the non-profit to benefit NRA executives. 

“After 30 years at the helm of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre has singularly come to define the gun lobby — but his legacy will ultimately be one of corruption, mismanagement and the untold destruction gun violence has brought to every American community,” said Nick Suplina, SVP of Law & Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Years from now, people won’t remember the private jets, expensive suits and yachts — they’ll remember the lives lost and the irreparable damage the NRA, under LaPierre, has done to our country. That is why, now more than ever, Americans are rejecting the NRA’s ‘guns everywhere’ policies in favor of stronger gun safety laws.”

Here’s what you need to know about Wayne LaPierre’s time as NRA CEO:

  • LaPierre has been the face of the gun lobby’s disastrous and extreme agenda for three decades, including its opposition to background checks on all gun sales, advocacy for special protection for bad actors in the gun industry, and push to create a “guns everywhere for anyone” society. 
  • Under LaPierre, the NRA has injected extreme rhetoric into the mainstream American discourse on gun violence for its own perceived political and financial benefit, helping create a dangerous climate in which some are led to believe that even the most modest regulation of firearms is part of a plot to impose authoritarianism.
    • For decades, LaPierre has not only repeatedly claimed that Democrats were supporting violent criminals in order to subvert America, but that the NRA’s political opponents were actively seeking to destroy the country outright. What will presumably be his final monthly column in NRA publications fittingly repeated his core thesis: “To put it plainly, there are powerful forces at every level of government, and in the media, academia and beyond, that don’t want America to be a nation where individual rights and fundamental freedoms are sacred and upheld by the highest offices and the laws of the land.”
    • Despite his extremist claims, voters have been electing gun sense candidates at every level of the ballot over the last few cycles — last November, gun sense legislators took control of the Virginia House of Delegates and maintained their majority in the Virginia Senate.
      • Moms Demand Action volunteers now make up nearly 20 percent of the Virginia House Democratic caucus.
  • Multiple former LaPierre allies have claimed that LaPierre saw extreme rhetoric as “gasoline” that he could pour on the fire of anger among the most fervent supporters.
    • In 2020, LaPierre signed a fundraising letter which warned of “armed government agents storming your house, taking your guns, and hauling you off to prison” and boasted that “only the NRA has the strength to win knock-down brawls on Capitol Hill.”
  • Since 2018, LaPierre’s use of private jets, yacht “security retreats” paid for by an alleged stakeholder in multiple NRA vendors, and $17 million golden parachute have figured prominently in several lawsuits and investigations of the NRA.
  • LaPierre’s leadership during its current legal crises has resulted in huge cuts in spending on the NRA’s core programs, ballooning legal fees, and dropping membership, what some experts have called “a financial spiral.” The NRA’s general counsel has confirmed that at least $100 million in the NRA’s ballooning legal fees went to the outside law firm handling the NRA’s current legal crises. At least three former LaPierre allies have claimed under oath that he told them that the head of that law firm was the only person who could keep LaPierre out of jail and an “orange jumpsuit.”
  • During the NRA’s failed 2021 bankruptcy, former employees, confidants, and board members testified that LaPierre’s management of the NRA was a “trainwreck” and the organization was run as “Wayne’s kingdom” where he employed what he himself allegedly called “management by chaos.”

Daily Summaries of Wayne LaPierre’s testimony:

To speak with an Everytown expert, please contact [email protected].