Oliver North Will Be Next President Of NRA, Organization Says

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Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, infamous for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, will be the next president of the National Rifle Association, the organization says in a statement.

The process will take several weeks, time that North says he will use to “set his affairs in order.” North is retiring from Fox News, where he has worked as a commentator and military analyst, effective immediately, he says in the statement.

On Monday morning, former NRA President Pete Brownell — the chief executive of the firearm accessories company Brownells — announced that he was not seeking re-election, in order to spend more time with his family, the NRA says.

The board of directors promptly moved to replace him with North.

“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 the 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.”

North served in Vietnam, where he earned combat medals. In the ’80s, he was an aide in the Reagan administration. North was a central player in the U.S. government’s operation to secretly sell weapons to Iran and use the funds to support anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.

And afterward, he had a starring role in the televised hearings about the scandal.

North was convicted of three felonies for his role in the affair, but those convictions were later overturned.

He went on to become a talk show host and made an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid.

North has been a member of the NRA’s board of directors for years. And he’s popular: Lifetime members of the NRA can cast votes for members of the board of directors, and North has repeatedly been the top vote getter.

The NRA just wrapped up its annual meeting, which was held in Dallas.

The private organization has been the subject of intensifying protests and public pressure after survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland began organizing to protest gun violence.

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