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NRA President Oliver North Forced Out Amid Leadership Fight

Michael Conroy
Associated Press
Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North speaks at the National Rifle Association national meeting in Indianapolis on Friday -- a day before he stepped down as the group's president as part of a leadership stuggle.

Amid an internal struggle over the direction of the National Rifle Association (NRA), retired Lt. Col. Oliver North let the group know at its annual convention that he would not seek another term as president.

In a letter read to members of the group Saturday, North advocated for a review of NRA finances and said he had been pushed out.

North’s announcement  at the Indianapolis convention comes after an effort by some members of the group to oust longtime NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre.

LaPierre, who has long held sway as a leading gun rights advocate, said this week that North had tried to push him out by threatening to release damaging information about him to the board, according to the Associated Press.

Additionally, The Daily Beast has reported that the NRA board’s lawyer, Steve Hart, has been suspended.

The leadership struggle highlights a turbulent time at the NRA, as the group deals with reported financial difficultiesaccusations of financial wrongdoing, and the threat of increased scrutiny by regulators.

LaPierre received a standing ovation when he spoke to the convention shortly after NRA board member Richard Childress read the statement from North. 

North, a leading figure in the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, took over the NRA presidency in the months  after last spring’s national convention in Dallas.

KERA is part of Guns & America, a national reporting collaborative of 10 public media newsrooms focusing attention on the role of guns in American life. You can find more Guns & America coverage here, and learn more about the collaboration here.