Monday, May 7, 2018

Ollie North To Be New NRA President

An alternative headline might be "The Triumph of the Staff".

While I think Ollie North is an OK guy and a believer in the Second Amendment, I just don't think he is the right person to be the next president of the National Rifle Association. In the release below he is being compared to Charlton Heston. In other words he will be a figurehead. What the NRA needs is not a figurehead but an effective leader in the corporate chairman of the board mold who will hold the hired staff - Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox - accountable. An effective president (or chairman of the board) would have slapped Wayne and Chris down when they sandbagged the board by suggesting regulation of bump fire stocks without consulting the board.

My second objection is North's age. He is 74 years old. I'm sure he is a very vigorous 74 years old but it reinforces the notion that the NRA is old, white, conservative, and bit out of touch. That's not the truth of many of the members but appearances matter. As Sebastian notes, "Exciting for whom?"

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Third, I think the gun control industry is jumping up and down with glee over the selection of Ollie North. Even though his convictions for gun running in the Iran-Contra scandal were thrown out, he will still be painted as a gun runner. This doesn't help our cause.

Finally, his attendance record at NRA Board meetings is not stellar. For the eight meetings from January 2015 through May 2017, North only attended three meetings. He had excused absences three times and two unexcused absences. Let's face it, it sucks.

The NRA has been in reactive mode since Parkland. We have lost more than we've gained since then and this is no way to win the war for the Second Amendment. We need to be proactive and I just don't see the elevation of Ollie North to the presidency of the NRA as going in that direction.

I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But the reality that I'm seeing on the ground right now seems to be saying I'm not wrong.

The full announcement of the North selection:
DALLAS – Lt. Colonel Oliver North, USMC (Ret.) will become President of the National Rifle Association of America within a few weeks, a process the NRA Board of Directors initiated this morning.

“This is the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association,” said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. “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.”

North said he was eager to take on this new role as soon as his business affairs were put in order. North is retiring from Fox News, effective immediately. “I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization’s President,” North said. “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.”

The NRA Board acted quickly to begin the process for North to become President, after former NRA President Pete Brownell announced this morning that, in order to devote his full time and energy to his family business, he had decided not to seek election to a second term. In his letter to the Board, Brownell wholeheartedly endorsed North for President.

“Discussing this with Wayne LaPierre,” Brownell said in the letter, “he suggested we reach out to a warrior amongst our board members, Lt. Colonel Oliver North, to succeed me. Wayne and I feel that in these extraordinary times, a leader with his history as a communicator and resolute defender of the Second Amendment is precisely what the NRA needs. After consulting with NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, First Vice President Childress and Second Vice President Meadows, I can report there is extraordinary support for Lt. Colonel North.”

“Pete has served the NRA with great courage and distinction,” LaPierre said. “I am grateful that he joined me in enthusiastically recommending Oliver North to the Board of Directors.”

After the announcement, NRA First Vice President Richard Childress informed the board that he had multiple commitments in the next several weeks and was unable to be immediately available to serve as interim President. The Board then selected Second Vice President Carolyn Meadows to serve as its interim President. Meadows will step aside in a few weeks, when Lt. Colonel North is prepared to take on his new role as NRA President.

LaPierre congratulated the NRA Board for its action. “The board acted quickly and with great vision,” LaPierre said. “Oliver North is, hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our NRA Board, to fully engage with our members, and to unflinchingly stand and fight for the great freedoms he has defended his entire life.”

“Oliver North is a true hero and warrior for freedom,” LaPierre said, “and NRA members are proud to stand with him.”


  1. Concur. NOT the best choice!

  2. How does you other people out there think about this?
    I am not sure, don't know Mr. North that well.
    Though it would be an improvement over me heading up the NRA.

  3. The overturned convictions were not for gun running but were process violations.

  4. This is half a story. Who do you think is a better choice?

    1. Good question. If you want a military guy who has had lots of media experience, I'd go with Allen West. He's about 20 years younger, served in Congress, and, being African-American, would be good for outreach to the minority community of gun owners. Non-military, I'd have preferred someone like Buz Mills. Frankly, I thought Pete Brownell was ideal and I'm sad he's gone.

  5. To be fair, though, aren't *all* NRA presidents figureheads? The best they can do is "advise the board" in the same way that the Queen of England can "advise the Prime Minister" regarding policy.

    Oliver North will be the king, but LaPierre is still Prime Minister.