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LaPierre at CPAC 2017
Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.
(1949-11-08) November 8, 1949
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Siena College
|Home town||Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.|
|Title||CEO and EVP of the National Rifle Association|
Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. (born November 8, 1949) is an American gun rights activist. LaPierre currently serves as the Chief Executive and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association.
Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. was born on November 8, 1949, in Schenectady, New York, the eldest child of Hazel (Gordon) and Wayne Robert LaPierre, Sr. His father was an accountant for the local General Electric plant. The LaPierre family trace their patrilineal heritage to a 17th century French ancestor who immigrated from the Brittany region of France to Quebec in Canada. His family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when LaPierre, Jr. was five years old, and he was raised in the Roman Catholic church. Despite a draft number (097) that placed him in the "most likely to be drafted" category for 1970, he was not drafted during the Vietnam War.
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.
National Rifle Association activity
Since 1991, he has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest gun rights and small arms industry advocacy organization in the United States. LaPierre joined the NRA in 1977 after working as a legislative aide to Democratic Virginia delegate and gun rights advocate Vic Thomas.
In 2014, NRA contributions totaled $103 million and LaPierre's compensation was $985,885. 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.
Views on gun control
LaPierre has called for the presence of "[a]rmed, trained, qualified school security personnel" at schools. 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."
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".
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."
- Restriction on "bump-fire" type rifle stocks, in the aftermath of the Vegas shooting in 2017.
- Bans on fully automatic firearms 
LaPierre has stated that he opposes the following:
- Universal background checks, as he believes this will lead to a universal gun registry.
- The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013
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." 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. Former president George H. W. Bush was so outraged by the letter that he resigned his NRA life membership. In response to growing criticism, LaPierre apologized, saying he did not intend to "paint all federal law-enforcement officials with the same broad brush".
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. Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called it "really sick rhetoric, and it should be repudiated by anyone who hears it". 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 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. 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. 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."
Following the event, several in the media criticized LaPierre's statements, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board and The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. On December 14, Rupert Murdoch tweeted, "Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy." 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. The accompanying article which was highly critical of LaPierre statement, described it as "bizarre". 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."
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." Others also criticized LaPierre's remarks, including Republican Party strategist and pollster Frank Luntz.. 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."
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—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." His reference to "elites" was questioned as some might consider him to be an "elite", as he is a multimillionaire. 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."
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The NRA executive vice president's pugnacious speech on Thursday provoked an indignant response—exactly as he'd aimed to do.
- Wayne LaPierre's NRA Press Conference Announcing National School Shield Program, as delivered transcript, audio, video, December 21, 2012
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Wayne LaPierre on IMDb
- "Wayne LaPierre collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Works by or about Wayne LaPierre in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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