Retired Marine Lt. Col. and Fox News Contributor Oliver North has been named the next president of the National Rifle Association. He is expected to step down from Fox and take the new post within a matter of weeks.
In an announcement on Monday, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre said, "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."
La Pierre called North a "gifted communicator and skilled leader," adding that "This is the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became president of our association."
Responding via a news release, Lt. Col. North said, "I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization's President. 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."
North was a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair during President Reagan's second term, when he served as a National Security Council staffer. The retired Marine was convicted for obstructing justice and lying to Congress in 1989, but the charges were later vacated or reversed, and eventually all were dismissed in 1991. He served 22 years as a Marine.
The NRA's selection of North is a high-profile pick, adding to the group's momentum after celebrating record-breaking attendance at their annual convention in Dallas last week. According to NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, over 87,000 people attended the event, including President Trump and Vice President Pence.
Loesch also responded to the news of North being picked as the new NRA president, tweeting, "Thrilled about the Oliver North news. A total warrior for freedom, this is the last person that anti-gun advocates would want as the new President of the NRA Board."
Amidst calls for greater gun control following the mass murder at a Parkland, Florida high school in February, NRA members have rallied to protect Second Amendment rights. In March, the group's NRA Political Victory Fund raised more than it had for at least a decade according to Federal Election Commission Filings — $2.4 million over a one-month period.