After Mass Shootings, NRA Leader Regularly Hid Out on Yachts in Fear for His Safety

When guns aren’t enough to protect, turn to luxury.

Curtis Compton/ZUMA

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For years, Wayne LaPierre, the embattled leader of the National Rifle Association, has been plagued by accusations of lavish spending and directing large sums of cash to the organization’s top brass—all while the powerful gun lobby was hemorrhaging funds, particularly after its record spending on the 2016 election.

That eyebrow-raising lifestyle has, once again, come into full view this week after LaPierre took the stand at the group’s high-stakes Dallas bankruptcy trial, where he admitted that he had broken NRA policy by failing to disclose free overseas yacht trips bankrolled by his Hollywood producer friend, David McKenzie. But why take the trips in the first place? According to LaPierre, it was the only place he felt safe in the wake of mass shootings.

“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under,” LaPierre testified on Thursday. “I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security, in terms of the number of threats I was getting.”

He continued, describing the luxury accommodations as simply a “place that I could go and be safe” because, according to him, the NRA had been ill-equipped to handle the level of threats he received. 

LaPierre’s Thursday testimony follows several mass shootings in just the last month. Americans who lack an overseas yacht connection but remain worried about the risk to themselves or their families have responded by pushing a broader safety measure: increased gun control.

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