Col. Oliver North, a popular speaker before the National Rifle Association, is poised to become the group's next president, bringing star power at a time it's pushing back against momentum for gun control in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern USA history and one of the deadliest school shootings. In that way, North is the ideal pick for the NRA, which has effectively become the paramilitary wing of a an increasingly fringe-friendly GOP. With North now taking the center seat on the board as NRA president, the NRA has a third national media star to take its message to the masses and mobilize voters for 2018. In short, it's a match made in heaven...or more to the point, hell. "In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our President".
The NRA Board initiated the process Monday morning, it said.
North, 74, who already serves on the NRA's board of directors, was a pivotal figure in the Iran-contra affair involving secret sales of arms to Iran by Republican President Ronald Reagan's administration and the unlawful diversion of the proceeds to Nicaraguan rebels.
While serving on the National Security Council during President Ronald Reagan's administration, North was a key player when the administration shipped weapons to Iran in a bid to free USA hostages held in Lebanon, then used the proceeds to fund the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in defiance of a congressional ban on aiding the group.
North was an active Marine for 22 years.
North was convicted of destroying government documents, accepting an illegal gratuity and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of Congress. He attended a prayer breakfast at the NRA's annual meeting in Dallas on Saturday. He hosted "War Stories with Oliver North", a series of military history documentaries, on Fox News, and worked as a contributor for the network before retiring Monday. North and Robb were in a statistical tie fewer than two weeks before the election when former first lady Nancy Reagan blasted North, saying he lied about her husband's role in Iran-contra.
North will replace current NRA president Pete Brownell. North wasn't one of them. "Instead, they are doubling down on a polarizing leadership style that serves only the interest of gun manufacturers at the expense of real American freedom - the right to live life without the fear of being shot".
Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of NY at Cortland and an expert on firearms and Second Amendment issues, called North the closest thing the NRA has to a celebrity "and maybe they figure they need a more prominent person at the helm, as opposed to the string of relative unknowns who have served in recent years".
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