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Wayne LaPierre

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Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Wayne LaPierre speaking in March 2016
Born Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.
(1949-11-08) November 8, 1949 (age 67)
Schenectady, New York, US
Nationality American
Alma mater Siena College
Occupation CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA,[1] author
Home town Roanoke, Virginia US
Salary $972,000[2]

Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. (born November 8, 1949)[3][4] is an American author and gun rights advocate. He is best known for his position as the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association and for his criticism of gun control policies.

Early life

LaPierre was born Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.[5] on November 8, 1949, in Schenectady, New York,[6] the eldest child of Hazel (Gordon) and Wayne Robert LaPierre, Sr.[5] His father was an accountant for the local General Electric plant.[5] The family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when LaPierre, Jr. was five years old, and he was raised in the Roman Catholic church.[5]


He has been a government activist and lobbyist since receiving his master's degree including positions on the board of directors of the American Association of Political Consultants, the American Conservative Union, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.[citation needed]

National Rifle Association activity

Since 1991, he has served as Executive Vice President and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest gun rights and small arms industry advocacy organization[7] in the United States. LaPierre joined the NRA in 1977 after working as a legislative aide to a Democratic Virginia delegate, Vic Thomas.

In 1995, LaPierre wrote a fundraising letter describing federal agents as "jack-booted government thugs" who wear "Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms".[8] The term "jack-booted government thugs" had been coined by United States Representative John David Dingell Jr., Democrat of Michigan, in 1981, referring to ATF agents, and came to be frequently repeated by the NRA.[9] Former president George H. W. Bush was so outraged by the letter that he resigned his NRA life membership.[10] In response to growing criticism, LaPierre apologized, saying he didn't intend to "paint all federal law-enforcement officials with the same broad brush".[11]

In 2000, LaPierre said President Bill Clinton tolerated a certain amount of violence and killing to strengthen the case for gun control and to score points for his party.[12] Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called it "really sick rhetoric, and it should be repudiated by anyone who hears it".[13] In 2004, citing Democratic candidate John Kerry's history of authoring and supporting gun control legislation, LaPierre actively campaigned against the senator in the 2004 presidential elections.

On December 21, 2012, the NRA held a televised media event at Washington's Willard Hotel located adjacent to the White House at which LaPierre read a prepared statement in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which he connected gun violence with "gun-free zones", violent films and video games, the media, weak databases on mental illness and lax security, and called for armed officers at American schools in an effort to protect children from gun violence.[14][15] He announced that Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas congressman and DEA chief, will lead the NRA's effort in developing a "school shield program".[16] Following the event, several in the media criticized LaPierre's statements, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board[17] and The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.[18] The New York Post, usually considered editorially conservative, labelled LaPierre a "Gun Nut!" on its December 22, 2012 cover.[19] Others also criticized LaPierre's remarks, including Republican Party strategist and pollster Frank Luntz[20] and pundit Ann Coulter.[21]


LaPierre hosts Crime Strike, a syndicated weekly television program which advocates gun use for the purpose of self-defense and highlights situations where people have used their guns against criminal suspects. In October 2006, LaPierre instituted a weekly online podcast on the website called What They Didn't Tell You Today. Every weekday, LaPierre gives a short broadcast about gun rights.

Views on gun control


  • Having armed security personnel at schools.[22]
  • Increasing funds for a stricter and more efficient mental health system, and reform of civil commitment laws to facilitate institutionalization of the mentally ill when necessary.
  • Creating a computerized universal mental health registry of those adjudicated to be incompetent, to help limit gun sales to the mentally ill.
  • Increasing enforcement of federal laws against and incarceration of violent gang members or felons with guns.
  • Project Exile and similar programs that mandate severe sentences for all gun crimes, especially illegal possession. LaPierre stated, "By prosecuting them, they prevent the drug dealer, the gang member, and the felon from committing the next crime... Leave the good people alone and lock up the bad people and dramatically cut crime."[23]


  • Universal background checks, as he believes this will lead to a universal gun registry.[22]
  • The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013[citation needed]
  • Any limits on the law-abiding public's access to semi-automatic weapons.[22]
  • Some gun control laws which he views as a form of government tyranny: "What people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they're going to be out there alone, and the only way they will protect themselves, in the cold, in the dark, when they are vulnerable, is with a firearm." There are some laws, however, he supports, such as the ban on gun sales to, or possession by, convicted felons or those adjudicated as incompetent or mentally ill.[22]


LaPierre has authored several books about topics including shooting practices, terrorism, gun safety, and crime.

  • Guns, Crime, and Freedom (1994)
  • Shooting Straight: Telling the Truth About Guns in America (2002)
  • Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism (2003)
  • The Global War on Your Guns (2006)
  • The Essential Second Amendment Guide (2007)
  • America Disarmed: Inside the U.N. and Obama's Scheme to Destroy the Second Amendment (2011)


  1. ^ Garrett, Ben. "Biography: Wayne LaPierre A Look at the Life and Career of the NRA's Executive Director". Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ The American Institute of Philanthropy (May/June 2013). Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. "Top 25 Compensation Packages" at Retrieved September 20, 2013. Archived January 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "LaPierre, Wayne R., 1949- - LC Linked Data Service (Library of Congress)". Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ Janssen, Sarah (December 8, 2015). The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2016. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781600572005. 
  5. ^ a b c d Zorova, Gregg (June 25, 1995). "THE SUNDAY PROFILE : On the Defensive : Amid both political and public turmoil, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has stood fast. But the : strains of combat—from within as well as without—are showing.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ Brock-Abraham, Cleo (April 18, 2013). "Origin Stories: Mapping the birthplaces of the 2013 TIME 100". Time. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ "This Is How The Gun Industry Funds The NRA". Business Insider. January 16, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  8. ^ Feldman, Richard (2008). Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. John Wiley. p. 236. 
  9. ^ Butterfield, Fox (May 8, 1995). "TERROR IN OKLAHOMA: ECHOES OF THE N.R.A.; Rifle Association Has Long Practice In Railing Against Federal Agents". New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Letter of Resignation Sent By Bush to Rifle Association". The New York Times. May 11, 1995. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Keil, Richard (May 18, 1995). "NRA Apologizes for 'Jack Boot' Letter". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Pear, Robert (March 19, 2000) "Guns Don't Kill People, Presidents Do" The New York Times.
  13. ^ Lacey, Mark (March 20, 2000) "NRA Stands by Criticism of President" The New York Times.
  14. ^ Nakamura, David and Tom Hamburger "Put Armed Police in Every School, NRA Urges The Washington Post, December 21, 2012, p. 1
  15. ^ Molloy, Tim (December 21, 2012). "NRA Blames Films, Media, Video, Unarmed Schools for Massacres". The Wrap. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ Fields, Gary; Colleen McCain Nelson (December 21, 2012). "NRA Calls for Armed Officers in Schools". The Wall Street Journal. 
  17. ^ "NRA nonsense: LaPierre speaks for gun makers, not gun owners". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 26, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  18. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey. "So Many Myths About Guns and Gun Control". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  19. ^ GUN NUT! N.R.A. loon in bizarre rant over Newtown. New York Post cover for December 22, 2012
  20. ^ Robillard, Kevin. "Frank Luntz: NRA not listening to public". Politico. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  21. ^ Poor, Jeff. "Ann Coulter rails against NRA's Wayne LaPierre". The Daily Caller. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d Wallace, Chris (February 3, 2013). "Capt. Mark Kelly, Wayne LaPierre on chances for compromise in gun control debate". Fox News Sunday. Fox News Channel. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  23. ^ Fields, Gary (August 5, 2008) "Going After Crimes – and Guns" The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2013.

External links