America

For N.R.A.’s LaPierre, a Legacy of Guns and Money

Wayne LaPierre, who led the National Rifle Association for more than three decades, had long been the face of the American gun rights movement, a Beltway Clint Eastwood who insisted that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

But on Friday, a civil court jury found Mr. LaPierre, 74, liable for misspending $5.4 million of the organization’s money, after a six-week corruption trial brought by Letitia James, the attorney general of New York.

The trial, and the years of revelations leading up to it, underscored that the N.R.A. had become as much about money as about guns during his tenure.

Mr. LaPierre described himself in 2019 as an almost accidental chief executive who decided to start appearing on a safari show choreographed by the N.R.A. because “one of the raps on me is I wasn’t going hunting enough.”Credit…Frank Franklin Ii/Associated Press

Inside the N.R.A., Mr. LaPierre was never seen as a gun enthusiast. In person, he comes across as a loquacious and absent-minded professor.

“This identity that I end up getting, it just kind of happened,” he said in a 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine. He described himself as the group’s almost accidental chief executive who decided to start appearing on a safari television show choreographed by the N.R.A. because “one of the raps on me is I wasn’t going hunting enough” and the safaris would “show me out there walking the walk, talking the talk.”

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