Wayne LaPierre announces resignation as NRA chief

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Leadership Forum on April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Longtime National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation Friday, Fox News Digital has learned. 

"With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA," LaPierre said in the NRA's press release, which was exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital. "I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever."

NRA President Charles Cotton said during the board meeting Friday in Irving, Texas, that he accepted LaPierre’s resignation. LaPierre, 74, cited health reasons as motivation behind the departure. 

The resignation will take effect Jan. 31. Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA’s executive and head of general operations, will serve as interim CEO and executive vice president of the NRA.

"On behalf of the NRA Board of Directors, I thank Wayne LaPierre for his service. Wayne has done as much to protect Second Amendment freedom as anyone," Cotton said according to the press release. "Wayne is a towering figure in the fight for constitutional freedom, but one of his other talents is equally important: he built an organization that is bigger than him. Under the direction of Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA will continue to thrive – with a renewed energy in our business operations and grassroots advocacy. Our future is bright and secure."

The announcement comes as LaPierre is set to face trial in the corruption case brought by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James. James - who before being elected the state’s AG, vowed to take on the NRA and slammed the group as a "terrorist organization" - brought forth a lawsuit in 2020 accusing NRA leadership of violating state and federal laws to divert millions of dollars to their own pockets. 

The NRA has repeatedly hit back that James's suit was an example of her weaponizing the powers of her office "to silence" the Second Amendment group due to her "animus" for the organization.  

"The NRA continues its defense of a lawsuit by the New York Attorney General, and LaPierre is an individual defendant in that action. It is well-known that the NYAG vowed to pursue the NRA when she was candidate for her office and, upon being elected, filed a lawsuit to dissolve the Association in August 2020. Trial proceedings in that case begin Monday," the NRA’s press release states. 

LaPierre had worked for the NRA since 1977, before becoming the group’s CEO and executive vice president in 1991. In his nearly 50 years with the NRA, LaPierre championed constitutional carry laws, with 2023 marking the year the U.S. became a constitutional carry-majority nation, as well as building the "Friends of the NRA" a non-political charity, growing membership, and championing stand your ground laws across the nation. 

"I am proud of the NRA’s advocacy in New York and, through it all, determination to defend the Second Amendment. I can assure you the NRA’s mission, programming, and fight for freedom have never been more secure," LaPierre said. 

"What makes the NRA unlike any other advocacy organization is the depth and experience of its professional team, the unwavering support of its members, and its fighting spirit. I have enormous confidence in our board of directors, executive leadership team, and my long-time colleague Andrew Arulanandam. Andrew knows every facet of this organization and has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in every arena imaginable. Andrew knows how to help the NRA win – he’s been one of the key authors of our playbook for decades," LaPierre said.