Retired UMSC Lt. Col. Oliver North, who rose to national prominence amid the Iran-Contra scandal and parlayed his military background into a role as a Fox News pundit, will become the new president of the National Rifle association. He takes over in a few weeks but his retirement from Fox News is effective immediately.
"This is the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association," NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement. "Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader. In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our president."
The NRA's 147th annual convention, which ended Sunday in Dallas, began with North delivering the invocation.
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“I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization’s President,” North said in a statement. “I appreciate the board initiating a process that affords me a few weeks to set my affairs in order, and I am eager to hit the ground running as the new NRA President.”
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North's widespread notoriety began in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra scandal, involving the sale of weapons to Iran with proceeds being funneled to right-wing rebel groups in Nicaragua .
Charges against him stemming from the controversy were dropped in 1991 and North went on to a career in politics and punditry.
North addressed the matter in his autobiography, "Under Fire: An American Story."
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was swift to condemn the move, with co-president Kris Brown saying it is "downright baffling that they'd choose to install a walking lightning rod at the top of the organization," and co-president Avery Gardiner saying "for an organization so concerned with law and order, picking a new leader who admitted he lied to Congress is a truly remarkable decision."
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