Wayne LaPierre, leader of the National Rifle Association, said in a deposition in the NRA’s bankruptcy trial, that after the mass school shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland, he fled to a private yacht out of fear for his own safety.
LaPierre hid out on a 108-foot yacht complete with WaveRunners, a cook and 3 more staff members:
“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under.”
LaPierre made the statement in a deposition in Texas over the weekend, while hoping the NRA will be allowed to file for bankruptcy in order to avoid a lawsuit from Letitia James, the New York Attorney General.
LaPierre claimed that he faced threats after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which led to the decision to flee to The Illusion, his friend’s yacht. He went a second time in 2018 following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida:
“And I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting. And this was the one place that I hope I could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’ And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used it.”
The NRA is currently drowning in legal fees amid the threat of losing tax exempt status after a probe by the NY AG found they had lost $64 million over three years. They’re also being sued by the Washington D.C. AG, Karl Racine, alleging that money meant for firearms safety and training was “diverted to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives.”
Also adding to the NRA’s troubles is a former NRA chief of staff recently fired by the group for misusing company money for his personal gain.
Joshua Powell, fired in January, wrote a book about the group featuring many damning claims, among them that the NRA is “rife with fraud and corruption,” and LaPierre “couldn’t run an organization on a fiscally sound basis to save his life.”
The National Rifle Association attempted to attack President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Twitter recently The NRA used a tweet Psaki made back in February of 2020 and attempted to slam her stance on gun registration, but things didn’t go quite as planned.
Back on February 5, 2020, Psaki tweeted, “Gun registration yes yes yes. It is a public health emergency and if any issue gets mothers out to the polls it should be this one.”
Over one year later and the NRA responded to Psaki’s tweet with,” Circle Back Psaki needs a lesson on the Second Amendment. Registration always leads to confiscation. Americans will NEVER register or give up our guns.”
Psaki quickly responded to the tweet that it was a “badge of honor that the NRA is randomly attacking me about a tweet from more than a year ago.”
Those who advocate for stricter gun registration laws say that having gun owners register their firearms with law enforcement would make it easier to hold them accountable.
However, those against the move such as the NRA claim that it would give the government too much information about gun owners and that it could lead to confiscation of their guns.
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence states that six states and DC have some form of gun registries, but eight states outright ban them. It argues that “registration systems are a useful method of curbing illegal gun activity and encouraging responsible gun practices.”
The center adds that “laws ordering the registration of guns help police and other law enforcement officials to identify, disarm, and prosecute violent criminals” and individuals who own weapons illegally. Registration also discourages illegal gun sales.
So far, the Biden administration has not placed a priority on gun reform, instead of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration after a surge of migrants crossing the border with Mexico.
President Biden has also avoided speaking about gun reform even in the wake of the mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia that left eight dead. Six of the eight killed were Asian women.
Biden has spoken publicly about the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Former President Obama also addressed the issue of guns and hate crimes in a tweet on Wednesday.
“Even as we’ve battled the pandemic, we’ve continued to neglect the longer-lasting epidemic of gun violence in America. Although the shooter’s motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end,” he wrote.
In a second tweet, he added: “Yesterday’s shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society.”
And in a third tweet he wrote, “Michelle and I pray for the victims, their families, everyone grieving these needless and devastating killings—and we urge meaningful action that will save lives.”
The suspect in the Georgia shootings was able to get a hold of a firearm faster than it takes to register to vote in Georgia. The suspect purchased the firearm just hours before allegedly using it to kill eight people.
Two-gun control bills were passed by the House of Representatives on 11 March. The first piece of legislation passed 227-203 and it would close a loophole by expanding background checks to guns bought online, at gun shows, and during certain private transactions. Democrats were joined by eight Republicans in voting for the bill.
The second bill passed with support from two Republicans, 219-210. This law would allow authorities an extra ten business days for background checks before the sale of a gun can be licensed.