You were tried and convicted in an arms selling operation. Selling arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq War in which we were supposed to be supporting Iraq, and then using the proceeds to fund Nicaraguan contras. While the selling arms part wasn’t your idea, you wrote a completely new plan that essentially made the entire thing from that point onward your responsibility. Selling arms to Iran directly, and diverting funds to Nicaragua in violation of the 1983 Boland Amendment.
And then you later tried to cover it up by destroying documents, getting your secretary to help you.
These are facts not in dispute.
Yes your convictions were later overturned due to the immunity Congress gave you for your testimony, which is why you weren’t sitting in prison. Unlike others involved who sat in jail until pardoned, a Christmas gift from George HW Bush in 1992.
The Iran-Contra Affair overshadows your decorations. Most who know anything about you know you only as the one who spearheaded what became, arguably, the largest international political scandal of the 20th Century. As a result the left and the media have been having a field day with this.
And while many say “we shouldn’t care what the left thinks”, bear in mind that nearly 19 out of every 20 gun owners are NOT NRA members, and your election as NRA president will keep that number very high. Because a significant portion of gun owners and Second Amendment supporters are libertarian or left-leaning, even “leftist”. The fact there are 100+ million gun owners in the United States should make that obvious. And there are only about… being generous… 5.5 million NRA members.
If you want to help the NRA, Mr North, resign. Your resignation as NRA president is really the only good thing you can do for the NRA right now. You should never have been chosen. Step down as NRA president and let the organization choose someone who doesn’t have your kind of history, your kind of infamy.
Let’s be realistic: optics matter, regardless of how much many might say they should not. And given the current situation in the wake of several high-profile shootings in the United States, there is much the NRA can do to improve how they are perceived. Which makes your election as NRA president all the more… surprising. It really makes me wonder if those with the voting authority at the NRA are not concerned or never considered the optics of this.
Upon learning of your election, I’ve actually considered canceling my only… 2-month old membership. And you being at the head of the organization is likely not going to bring many new people in, regardless of how fervently they support the Second Amendment. And many members may use your election as a reason to not renew or cancel. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the membership numbers in the coming months.
So respectfully, Mr North, please do what is best for the National Rifle Association and its members and tender your resignation.