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National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre announces resignation   

The longtime head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) says he is resigning, just days before the start of a civil trial over allegations he diverted millions of dollars from the powerful gun rights organisation to pay for personal travel and other lavish perks.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president and chief executive officer, said his departure is effective January 31.

The trial in New York Attorney-General Letitia James's lawsuit — against Mr LaPierre, the NRA and others who have served as organisation executives — is scheduled to start on Monday.

Mr LaPierre and ex-NRA president Oliver North are among the witnesses expected to testify.

Mr LaPierre, 74, has led the NRA 's day-to-day operations since 1991, acting as the 

face and vehement voice of its gun rights agenda.

He once warned of "jack-booted government thugs" seizing guns, called for armed guards in every school after a spate of shootings, and condemned foes backing gun control measures as "opportunists" who "exploit tragedy for gain".

In recent years though, the NRA has been beset by dwindling membership and financial troubles, along with lingering questions about Mr LaPierre's leadership and spending.

One of Mr LaPierre's top lieutenants, Andrew Arulanandam, will assume his roles on an interim basis, the organisation said. 

Phillip Journey, a former NRA board member who is set to testify at the upcoming trial in New York, said Mr LaPierre's resignation did not resolve the open questions before the court nor remedy what he sees as persistent rot within the gun lobbying group.

"Honestly, the grifters are a snake with many heads and this is just one," said Mr Journey, a Kansas judge who's running to retake a seat on the NRA's board.

Mr Journey also testified at the NRA's bankruptcy trial in Texas and said he anticipated there is enough evidence for the New York attorney general to prove her case.

"It's a tragic end to a career that had many high points," Mr Journey said of Mr LaPierre stepping down.

"It's one of his own making."

Taken from ABC News Media Release on January 6, 2024

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