Wayne LaPierre

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Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre by Gage Skidmore 5 (cropped).jpg
LaPierre at CPAC 2017
Born (1949-11-08) November 8, 1949 (age 71)
Alma mater Siena College
Boston College
Titleexecutive vice president of the National Rifle Association

Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. (born November 8, 1949) is an American gun rights activist serving as the executive vice president (EVP) of the National Rifle Association (NRA) since 1991. [1]


Early life

Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. [2] was born on November 8, 1949, in Schenectady, New York, [3] [4] [5] [6] the eldest child of Hazel (Gordon) and Wayne Robert LaPierre, Sr. [2] His father was an accountant for the local General Electric plant. [2] The LaPierre family trace their patrilineal heritage to a 17th century French ancestor who emigrated from the Brittany region of France to New France (now Quebec, Canada). [7] His family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when LaPierre, Jr. was five years old, and he was raised in the Roman Catholic church. [2]


Wayne LaPierre has been a government activist and lobbyist since receiving his master's degree in government and politics, including positions on the board of directors of the American Association of Political Consultants, the American Conservative Union, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. [8]

National Rifle Association activity

Since 1991, he has served as EVP and chief executive of the NRA, the largest gun rights advocacy and firearms safety training/marksmanship organization in the United States. [9] LaPierre joined the NRA in 1977 after working as a legislative aide to Democratic Virginia delegate and gun rights advocate Vic Thomas. [10]

In 2014, NRA contributions totaled $103 million and LaPierre's compensation was $985,885. [11] In 2015, NRA contributions totaled $95 million. In that year, LaPierre received a $3.7 million deferred compensation distribution from his "employee funded deferred compensation plan", which was required by federal law, and according to the NRA raised his total annual compensation to $5,110,985. [11]

On August 6, 2020, following 18 months of investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against the NRA and LaPierre, as well as treasurer Wilson Phillips, former chief of staff and current executive director of general operations Joshua Powell [12] and general counsel and secretary John Frazer, alleging fraud, financial misconduct, and misuse of charitable funds, and calling for the dissolution of the association due to chronic fraudulent management. [13]

Views on gun rights

LaPierre supports regulation on bump stocks (pictured here on a WASR-10 rifle) Slide Fire Solutions Slidefire Stock on a GP WASR-10 AK-47 (no watermark).JPG
LaPierre supports regulation on bump stocks (pictured here on a WASR-10 rifle)

LaPierre has called for the presence of "[a]rmed, trained, qualified school security personnel" at schools. [14] [15] At a press conference in the wake of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, LaPierre announced that Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas congressman and DEA chief, would lead the NRA's National School Shield Emergency Response Program, saying "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." [14]

LaPierre blamed the Sandy Hook incident, and others like it, on "lack of mental health reform and the prevalence of violent video games and movies". [14]

LaPierre has stated his support for the following:


Multiple U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush (pictured) have criticized LaPierre's rhetoric. Bush 1991.jpg
Multiple U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush (pictured) have criticized LaPierre's rhetoric.

In 1995, LaPierre wrote a fundraising letter describing federal agents as "jack-booted government thugs" who wear "Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens." [18] The term "jack-booted government thugs" had been coined by United States Representative John David Dingell Jr., Democrat of Michigan, in 1981, referring to ATF agents, and came to be frequently repeated by the NRA. [19] Former president George H. W. Bush was so outraged by the letter that he resigned his NRA life membership. [20] In response to growing criticism, LaPierre apologized, saying he did not intend to "paint all federal law-enforcement officials with the same broad brush". [21]

In 2000, LaPierre said President Bill Clinton tolerated a certain amount of violence and killing to strengthen the case for gun control and to score points for his party. [22] Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called it "really sick rhetoric, and it should be repudiated by anyone who hears it". [23] In 2004, citing Democratic candidate John Kerry's history of authoring and supporting gun control legislation, LaPierre actively campaigned against the senator in the 2004 presidential elections.

On December 21, 2012, the NRA held a televised media event at Washington's Willard Hotel located adjacent to the White House at which LaPierre read a 30-minute prepared statement [24] in response to the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 27 people, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old—the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. [25] [26] He connected gun violence with "gun-free zones", violent films and video games, the media, weak databases on mental illness and lax security, and called for armed officers at American schools in an effort to protect children from gun violence. [27] [28] He blamed the video game industry for the shooting, describing it as "a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games." [24]

Following the event, several in the media criticized LaPierre's statements, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board [29] and The Atlantic 's Jeffrey Goldberg. [30] On December 14, Rupert Murdoch tweeted, "Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy." [31] After the press release, one of his newspapers, the New York Post , that is usually considered editorially conservative, labelled LaPierre a "Gun Nut!" on its December 22, 2012 cover. [32] The accompanying article which was highly critical of LaPierre statement, described it as "bizarre". [24] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that LaPierre's vision of America was "paranoid" and "dystopian" and portrayed the United States as "dangerous and violent ... where everyone is armed and no place is safe." [24]

In a tweet sent out after one of the funerals, Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who represents Newtown, said, "Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone-deaf statement I've ever seen." [24] Others also criticized LaPierre's remarks, including Republican Party strategist and pollster Frank Luntz. [33] In response to LaPierre's recommendation to protect schools with armed guards, then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "You can't make [school] an armed camp for kids." [24]

In response to the February 14, 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and adults were killed and 14 injured—one of the world's deadliest school massacres [34] —LaPierre delivered a speech on February 22 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in National Harbor, Maryland, in which he criticized the FBI, the media and gun control advocates. "As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. The elites do not care one whit about America's school system and schoolchildren. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them it is not a safety issue, it is a political issue ... [Gun control advocates] don't care if their laws work or not. They just want get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA, the NRA does care." [35] His reference to "elites" was questioned as some might consider him to be an "elite", as he is a multimillionaire. [35] He also argued that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms "is not bestowed by man, but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright." [35]

Related Research Articles

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National Rifle Association American nonprofit organization

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is a gun rights advocacy group based in the United States. Founded to advance rifle marksmanship, the modern NRA continues to teach firearm safety and competency. The organization also publishes several magazines and sponsors competitive marksmanship events. According to the NRA, it had nearly 5 million members as of December 2018, though that figure has not been independently confirmed. On January 15, 2021, the NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Assault weapon Terminology used in United States firearm legislation

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Marion P. Hammer was the first female president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) from 1995 to 1998. As an influential NRA lobbyist from the 1970s through today, Hammer is credited with influencing many of Florida's gun laws including the 2005 Stand your ground law. The success of her pro-gun lobby has had an impact upon similar laws across the United States. She developed the NRA program for children, Eddie Eagle GunSafe, in 1988 that the NRA promotes as an alternative to Child access prevention law (CAP) or safe storage laws. In 2005, she was inducted into Florida Women's Hall of Fame. Hammer is currently very active in lobbying the NRA positions and helping to write pro-gun legislation with the Florida State Legislature, including participation in senate and house committee meetings following the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February 2018. Following the mass shooting, Hammer became the target of harassment and filed law suits against five men.

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Dana Loesch American conservative political commentator

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National Association for Gun Rights

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) is a conservative gun rights advocacy group in the United States. They maintain an affiliated PAC and a nonprofit legal foundation. Officially incorporated in Virginia on March 29, 2000, NAGR was founded by Dudley Brown as a national companion organization to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. NAGR is a rival of the National Rifle Association and considers itself the "conservative alternative" to the NRA. The group spends most of its energy attacking lawmakers deemed too soft on Second Amendment issues via direct mail, robocalls and low-cost television ads. The group has gained notoriety for its aggressive lobbying tactics and attack ads.

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, United States

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, United States, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members. Earlier that day, before driving to the school, he shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. As first responders arrived at the school, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

The December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting—in which the perpetrator shot and killed his mother, 20 school children, 6 teachers, and then himself—received international attention. Governments and world leaders offered their condolences, while tributes and vigils by people were made in honor of the victims. U.S. President Barack Obama gave a televised address on the day of the shootings, saying, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics." Obama paused twice during the address to compose himself and wipe away tears, and expressed "enormous sympathy for families that are affected". He also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and other U.S. federal government facilities worldwide in respect for the victims. Within 15 hours of the massacre, 100,000 Americans signed up at the Obama administration's We the People petitioning website in support of a renewed national debate on gun control. Obama attended and spoke at an interfaith vigil on December 16 in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Assault Weapons Ban of 2013

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Mass shootings in the United States Incidents involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence

Mass shootings are incidents involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence. The precise inclusion criteria are disputed, and there is no broadly accepted definition. One definition is an act of public firearm violence—excluding gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by an organization—in which a shooter kills at least four victims. Using this definition, one study found that nearly one-third of the world's public mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 occurred in the United States. Using a similar definition, The Washington Post records 163 mass shootings in the United States between 1967 and June 2019.

Stoneman Douglas High School shooting Mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, United States

On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. Afterwards, the shooter allegedly fled the scene on foot by blending in with other students. A suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was arrested without incident about an hour later in nearby Coral Springs and subsequently charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police and prosecutors have not offered a motive and are investigating "a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior".

Emma González American activist and gun control advocate

Emma González is an American activist and advocate for gun control. As a high school senior she survived the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and in response co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD.

Never Again MSD

Never Again MSD is an American student-led political action committee for gun control that advocates for tighter regulations to prevent gun violence. The organization, also known by the Twitter hashtags #NeverAgain, and #EnoughIsEnough, was formed by a group of twenty students attending the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) at the time of the deadly shooting in 2018, in which seventeen students and staff members were killed by the alleged gunman, who was a former student at the school and armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The organization started on social media as a movement "for survivors of the Stoneman Douglas Shooting, by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas Shooting" using the hashtag #NeverAgain. A main goal of the group was to influence the 2018 United States elections, and they embarked on a multi-city bus tour in June 2018 to encourage young people to register to vote.

Cameron Kasky American activist against gun violence

Cameron Marley Kasky is an American activist and advocate against gun violence who co-founded the student-led gun violence prevention advocacy group Never Again MSD. He is notable for helping to organize the March for Our Lives nationwide student protest in March 2018. Kasky is a survivor of the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

David Hogg American gun control advocate

David Miles Hogg is an American gun control activist and student who survived the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018. He is a founding member of Never Again MSD, an advocacy group led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) students. He has helped lead several high-profile protests, marches, and boycotts, including the boycott of The Ingraham Angle. He has also been a target and scapegoat of several conspiracy theories and right-wing accusations.

In February 2018, a boycott emerged against the U.S. gun rights advocacy group National Rifle Association (NRA) and its business affiliates. The boycott and social media activism campaign arose in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The NRA was criticized for its response, including its recommendation for schools to arm teachers and opposition to bans on certain assault weapons. Calls for companies to sever their ties to the NRA resulted in several companies discontinuing their business relationships with the NRA and cancelling discount programs offered to NRA members. The boycott extended to Canada where Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Running Room cut supplier relationships with Vista Outdoor.Public pressure also caused a number of gun retailers to increase the age required to buy firearms and place other restrictions on gun sales.


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Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
J. Warren Cassidy
Executive Vice President and
Chief Executive Officer of the
National Rifle Association