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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate