Wayne LaPierre

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Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre by Gage Skidmore 5 (cropped).jpg
LaPierre at CPAC 2017
Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.

(1949-11-08) November 8, 1949 (age 70)
Alma materSiena College
Boston College
Titleexecutive vice president of the National Rifle Association

Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. (born November 8, 1949) is an American gun rights activist serving as the executive vice president (EVP) of the National Rifle Association (NRA) since 1991.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.[2] was born on November 8, 1949, in Schenectady, New York,[3][4][5][6] the eldest child of Hazel (Gordon) and Wayne Robert LaPierre, Sr.[2] His father was an accountant for the local General Electric plant.[2] The LaPierre family trace their patrilineal heritage to a 17th century French ancestor who emigrated from the Brittany region of France to New France (now Quebec, Canada).[7] His family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when LaPierre, Jr. was five years old, and he was raised in the Roman Catholic church.[2]


Wayne LaPierre has been a government activist and lobbyist since receiving his Master's degree in government and politics, 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.[8]

National Rifle Association activity[edit]

Since 1991, he has served as EVP and chief executive of the NRA, the largest gun rights advocacy and firearms safety training/marksmanship organization in the United States.[9] LaPierre joined the NRA in 1977 after working as a legislative aide to Democratic Virginia delegate and gun rights advocate Vic Thomas.[10]

In 2014, NRA contributions totaled $103 million and LaPierre's compensation was $985,885.[11] In 2015, NRA contributions totaled $95 million. In that year, LaPierre received a $3.7 million deferred compensation distribution from his "employee funded deferred compensation plan", which was required by federal law, and according to the NRA raised his total annual compensation to $5,110,985.[11]

On August 6, 2020, following 18 months of investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against the NRA and LaPierre, as well as treasurer Wilson Phillips, former chief of staff and current executive director of general operations Joshua Powell[12] and general counsel and secretary John Frazer, alleging fraud, financial misconduct, and misuse of charitable funds, and calling for the dissolution of the association due to chronic fraudulent management.[13]

Views on gun control[edit]

LaPierre supports regulation on bump stocks (pictured here on a WASR-10 rifle)

LaPierre has called for the presence of "[a]rmed, trained, qualified school security personnel" at schools.[14][15] At a press conference in the wake of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, LaPierre announced that Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas congressman and DEA chief, would lead the NRA's National School Shield Emergency Response Program, saying "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."[14]

LaPierre blamed the Sandy Hook incident, and others like it, on "lack of mental health reform and the prevalence of violent video games and movies".[14]

LaPierre has stated his support for the following:

  • 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 legally 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."[16]
  • Restriction on "bump-fire" type rifle stocks, in the aftermath of the Vegas shooting in 2017.
  • Bans on fully automatic firearms [17]


Multiple U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush (pictured) have criticized LaPierre's rhetoric.

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 to attack law-abiding citizens."[18] 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.[19] Former president George H. W. Bush was so outraged by the letter that he resigned his NRA life membership.[20] In response to growing criticism, LaPierre apologized, saying he did not intend to "paint all federal law-enforcement officials with the same broad brush".[21]

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.[22] Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called it "really sick rhetoric, and it should be repudiated by anyone who hears it".[23] 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 30-minute prepared statement[24] in response to the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 27 people, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old—the deadliest mass shooting in a school in U.S. history.[25][26] 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.[27][28] He blamed the video game industry for the shooting, describing it as "a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games."[24]

Following the event, several in the media criticized LaPierre's statements, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board[29] and The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.[30] On December 14, Rupert Murdoch tweeted, "Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy."[31] After the press release, one of his newspapers, the New York Post, that is usually considered editorially conservative, labelled LaPierre a "Gun Nut!" on its December 22, 2012 cover.[32] The accompanying article which was highly critical of LaPierre statement, described it as "bizarre".[24] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that LaPierre's vision of America was "paranoid" and "dystopian" and portrayed the United States as "dangerous and violent ... where everyone is armed and no place is safe."[24]

In a tweet sent out after one of the funerals, Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who represents Newtown, said, "Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone-deaf statement I've ever seen."[24] Others also criticized LaPierre's remarks, including Republican Party strategist and pollster Frank Luntz.[33]. In response to LaPierre's recommendation to protect schools with armed guards, then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "You can't make [school] an armed camp for kids."[24]

In response to the February 14, 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and adults were killed and 14 injured—one of the world's deadliest school massacres[34]—LaPierre delivered a speech on February 22 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in National Harbor, Maryland, in which he criticized the FBI, the media and gun control advocates. "As usual, the opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. The elites do not care one whit about America's school system and schoolchildren. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them it is not a safety issue, it is a political issue ... [Gun control advocates] don't care if their laws work or not. They just want get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA, the NRA does care."[35] His reference to "elites" was questioned as some might consider him to be an "elite", as he is a multimillionaire.[35] He also argued that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms "is not bestowed by man, but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright."[35]


  1. ^ Garrett, Ben. "Biography: Wayne LaPierre A Look at the Life and Career of the NRA's Executive Director". About.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "LaPierre, Wayne R., 1949- - LC Linked Data Service (Library of Congress)". id.loc.gov. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Janssen, Sarah (December 8, 2015). The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2016. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781600572005.
  5. ^ "NRA leader has Schenectady roots". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Brock-Abraham, Cleo (April 18, 2013). "Origin Stories: Mapping the birthplaces of the 2013 TIME 100". Time. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  7. ^ Pierre Meunier dit Lapierre
  8. ^ "NRA's Wayne LaPierre: The force behind the nation's gun lobby". The Washington Post. December 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "This Is How The Gun Industry Funds The NRA". Business Insider. January 16, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  10. ^ "Shy No More, N.R.A.'s Top Gun Sticks to Cause". New York Times. April 13, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Silverstein, Jason (February 9, 2017). "National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre saw compensation jump more than $4 million as revenue soared". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "About the NRA", Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Tim Mak (August 6, 2020). "New York Attorney General Moves To Dissolve The NRA After Fraud Investigation". NPR. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "NRA: 'Only Way To Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun Is With A Good Guy With A Gun'". CBS. Washington, DC. December 21, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  15. ^ Fields, Gary; Colleen McCain Nelson (December 21, 2012). "NRA Calls for Armed Officers in Schools". The Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ Fields, Gary (August 5, 2008) "Going After Crimes – and Guns" The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  17. ^ "NRA's Wayne LaPierre says current regulations should be enforced better". Face the Nation. CBS News. October 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Feldman, Richard (2008). Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. John Wiley. p. 236.
  19. ^ Butterfield, Fox (May 8, 1995). "TERROR IN OKLAHOMA: ECHOES OF THE N.R.A.; Rifle Association Has Long Practice In Railing Against Federal Agents". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "Letter of Resignation Sent By Bush to Rifle Association". The New York Times. May 11, 1995. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  21. ^ Keil, Richard (May 18, 1995). "NRA Apologizes for 'Jack Boot' Letter". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  22. ^ Pear, Robert (March 19, 2000) "Guns Don't Kill People, Presidents Do" The New York Times.
  23. ^ Lacey, Mark (March 20, 2000) "NRA Stands by Criticism of President" The New York Times.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Miller, S.A. (December 22, 2012). "NRA chief calls for armed cops in schools, blasts media and Hollywood in bizarre rant". The New York Post. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  25. ^ Effron, Lauren (December 14, 2012). "Mass School Shootings: A History". ABC News. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  26. ^ "Deadliest U.S. mass shootings, 1984-2016". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  27. ^ Nakamura, David and Tom Hamburger "Put Armed Police in Every School, NRA Urges The Washington Post, December 21, 2012, p. 1
  28. ^ Molloy, Tim (December 21, 2012). "NRA Blames Films, Media, Video, Unarmed Schools for Massacres". The Wrap. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  29. ^ "NRA nonsense: LaPierre speaks for gun makers, not gun owners". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 26, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  30. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey. "So Many Myths About Guns and Gun Control". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  31. ^ "Rupert Murdoch On Newtown Shooting: When Will We 'Ban Automatic Weapons'?". Huffington Post. December 17, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  32. ^ "GUN NUT! N.R.A. loon in bizarre rant over Newtown". New York Post. December 22, 2012. Archived from the original on April 2, 2013.cover for December 22, 2012
  33. ^ Robillard, Kevin. "Frank Luntz: NRA not listening to public". Politico. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  34. ^ Laughland, Oliver; Luscombe, Richard; Yuhas, Alan (February 15, 2018). "Florida school shooting: at least 17 people dead on 'horrific, horrific day'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  35. ^ a b c Graham, David A. "Wayne LaPierre's Cynical Exploitation of Outrage". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 22, 2018. The NRA executive vice president's pugnacious speech on Thursday provoked an indignant response—exactly as he'd aimed to do.

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
J. Warren Cassidy
Executive Vice President and
Chief Executive Officer of the
National Rifle Association