NRA chooses Oliver North as its new president
Former U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North acknowledges attendees as he gives the invocation at the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum in Dallas. Sue Ogrocki/AP

NRA chooses Oliver North as its new president

The National Rifle Association announced Monday that Oliver North, a retired Marine sentenced to prison in 1989 after being accused of illegally supplying weapons to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra scandal, will become the new president of the organization.

“This is the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement. “Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader. In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our President.”

North’s history, however, could cause even more controversy for the NRA, which is already under siege following a spate of deadly mass shootings that’s led to backlash against the organization.

North was given a three-year suspended prison sentence after he was convicted of three felony counts in the Iran-Contra scandal: accepting an illegal gratuity, obstructing a congressional inquiry and destroying documents. The convictions were later vacated and the charges were dismissed in 1991.

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The scandal led to North’s resignation from former President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

Afterward, North became a conservative radio show host and Fox News personality. He still regularly appears on Sean Hannity’s Fox program and has been an active member of the NRA.

North will replace Pete Brownell, who currently serves as the NRA’s president.