Television host and retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North has been named president of the National Rifle Association, the group announced on Monday.
“This is the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association,” said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. “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 won’t become president immediately but instead will take the helm after a formal process by the lobbying group, which is expected to take several weeks. He will replace outgoing president Pete Brownell, who declined to seek another term in order to spend more time with his family, according to a press release.
North, a longtime fixture in the conservative media, was convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal of 1991 in which senior officials of the Reagan administration secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran. He has most recently worked as a host on Fox News, a role from which he will be retiring “effective immediately” according to the release.
North takes charge at an increasingly fraught time for the organization, which has found itself embattled after waves of gun violence have swept the United States in recent years.
Though the NRA has managed to head-off federal gun control regulations, the group is facing stiff challenges since the massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school earlier this year.