NRA Taps Oliver North, Retired Marine Colonel, As Next Head Of Gun-Rights Interest Group

The National Rifle Association announced Monday that retired Lt. Col. Oliver North would succeed President Pete Brownell.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who served in the United States Marine Corps, was announced Monday as the next president of the National Rifle Association. North served more than two decades in the United States military and later served as part of the National Security Council’s staff during the tenure of President Ronald Reagan, Fox News reports.

Outside of those capacities, North is noted for hosting War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News for more than a decade. He also contributed to the network. In announcing his new role with the NRA, North resigned his positions with Fox News, effective immediately.

“I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization’s President,” North said in an NRA press release. “I appreciate the board initiating a process that affords me a few weeks to set my affairs in order, and I am eager to hit the ground running as the new NRA President.”

As part of the same release, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called North’s appointment “the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President.”

The move comes as former NRA President Pete Brownell announced he would not seek a second term as the organization’s president, instead focusing his energies on his family business, firearm, and accessory retailer Brownells.

During his military tenure, North served as platoon commander in the Vietnam War, during which he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal and two Purple Hearts for being wounded in combat, according to the New York Times. He was also involved in the Iran-Contra affair and was convicted on three felony counts in relation to the scandal, The Guardian reported at the time. North’s convictions were later vacated with help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The former National Security aide, Oliver North, the man at the heart of the 1986 Iran-contra affair, was yesterday found guilty on three counts – including deceiving Congress and receiving an illegal gratuity – in a verdict which seems certain to rebound with a vengeance on President Bush and his predecessor, Mr Reagan.

The three counts were: shredding government documents; accepting a bribe in the shape of a security fence; and seeking to keep the truth from Congress.”

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