Infighting between two top National Rifle Association leaders took center stage Saturday at the organization's membership meeting in Indianapolis. The internal struggles within the NRA came to a head with those in attendance wanting transparency about the issues.
Then-NRA president Oliver North was not at the meeting and instead had the group's first vice president read his letter announcing that he was stepping down and would not seek a second term. This came after reports that North tried to oust chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre from his position.
During the annual membership meeting, some called for a resolution to have LaPierre resign. When it was suggested that the matter go before the board, member Jonathan Blatman of West Chester, Pennsylvania, strongly disagreed.
"As members of the board, as even in the statement of Oliver North, are involved in these self-dealing issues," says Blatman. "Therefore the board cannot consider this matter. It is for the members, we, the NRA members, to decide these issues."
However, other members felt that disputes between leaders and any legal matters at hand should be handled privately first. John Cushman of New York says he'd rather let the directors handle any ongoing internal issues.
"I've been a big fan of the leadership, Wayne and Mr. Cox, the whole team, and I don't know what this is about and that has gotten me very much upset," says Cushman. "These guys might be spot on, they might know something I don't. I'd like to think this a fight among family."
The leadership in attendance avoided addressing some of the problems the group is facing, including the NRA's lawsuit against its longtime ad agency Ackerman McQueen. Member Ron Carter from Colorado took the opportunity during new business to ask for answers.
"The misuse of funds that has been going to Ackerman McQueen with no, absolutely no, checks and balances is incredibly important to me," says Carter.
All of this comes ahead of the NRA's next board meeting, which is scheduled for Monday.
The NRA says it is the largest gun rights advocacy group in the United States and counts about 5 million members.