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NRA Names Oliver North Next President

National Review logo National Review 5/7/2018 Jack Crowe
Marine Corps Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North speaks at an NRA convention in Dallas, Texas, May 4, 2018. © Lucas Jackson/Reuters Marine Corps Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North speaks at an NRA convention in Dallas, Texas, May 4, 2018.

Oliver North, the retired Marine Lt. Col. convicted in the Iran-Contra affair, has been named the next president of the National Rifle Association, the group announced Monday.

“Oliver North is, hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our NRA Board, to fully engage with our members, and to unflinchingly stand and fight for the great freedoms he has defended his entire life,” NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.

North will leave his position as a Fox News contributor take over as president “within a few weeks,” according to the NRA.

North served as a National Security Council staff member under president Ronald Reagan and was investigated for his participation in the illegal sale of weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of Americans held hostage in Lebanon. North was convicted on multiple charges but the convictions were later reversed of vacated, and all charges were dismissed in 1991.

The decision comes amid heightened national scrutiny on the gun industry and a widespread push for significant gun control reforms, which cropped up in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland.

The NRA has come under fire in recent months for opposing what critics view as reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, including raising the minimum purchase age to 21 and banning the sale of “assault-style” weapons like the one used in the Parkland massacre.

In response to the public backlash, financial institutions and other corporations have increasingly spurned the gun industry —implementing restrictions on gun retailers and manufacturers and creating investment products that specifically exclude those businesses.

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