On Monday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) said it would make Lt. Col. Oliver North, Fox News contributor and a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, its next president.
North will retire from Fox News and take over the NRA “within a few weeks.” In a statement, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre compared North to Charlton Heston and described him as “the absolute best choice.”
“Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader,” LaPierre also said. “In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our President.”
Lt. Colonel Oliver North Poised to Become NRA President. “Most exciting news for NRA members since Charlton Heston Became President of Our Association,” Wayne LaPierre said. Full press release: https://t.co/O8I7F0V1Xl
— NRATV (@NRATV) May 7, 2018
“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,” LaPierre said.
Watch a speech North gave for the NRA below:
North served as a platoon commander during the Vietnam War, received a Silver Star Medal for his service there, and later served in other leadership positions.
In response, some on Twitter criticized him, and cited North’s role in the Iran-Contra controversy:
Oliver North — who was indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States for illegally selling arms to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra scandal — will be next president of the NRA.
What a great face to represent the law-abiding gun owner.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) May 7, 2018
Another person of questionable character he will fit right in
— Kristopher cote (@CoteCotekw8) May 7, 2018
Can convicted criminals possess firearms, let alone represent the NRA?
— Patty O’Limerick (@PattyOLimerick) May 7, 2018
I just… I mean… pic.twitter.com/gXpXLGwoBJ
— Bitch Hoggle (@bitch_hoggle) May 7, 2018
Oliver North illegally sold weapons to Iran after they’d killed our Marines in Beirut and will now be in charge of selling AR-15s after massacres.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) May 7, 2018
Apparently, there’s life after treason https://t.co/58b894Gy4F
— David Brin (@DavidBrin) May 7, 2018
The news came amid a broader discussion about firearm ownership and intense criticism of the NRA for promoting that. Just last week, the NRA hosted President Donald Trump as a speaker at its annual convention.
After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, survivors lambasted the NRA and blamed its influence for Congress’ failure to pass gun control legislation.
Despite the onslaught of negative attention, the NRA hit a 15-year fundraising record with $2.4 million in donations during the month following the shooting.
The shooting itself appeared to spike donations, as the NRA saw nearly a fivefold increase in donations during the following two weeks.
After assuming his role, North, 74, will likely have to deal with boycotts against the organization and fierce opposition from Hollywood and Democrats entering the 2018 midterms. As Independent Journal Review previously reported, a long list of celebrities threw their support behind an anti-NRA movement called “NoRA.”
“Your time signing checks in our blood is up,” the organization said in an April letter to the NRA. “We’re coming for your money. We’re coming for your puppets,” the letter also said.