NRA CEO sought refuge on 108-ft yacht following school shootings for his ‘safety’

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National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre has revealed that he believed his safety, as well as his family's safety, was previously at risk following several mass shootings, so they sought refuge on a friend's yacht.

Mr LaPierre disclosed his use of the friend's 108-foot yacht for weeks following the Sandy Hook and Parkland mass shootings during a deposition that was filed over the weekend.

"I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting," he said at the time. "And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, 'Thank God I'm safe, nobody can get me here.'"

The deposition was part of the NRA's bankruptcy hearing in Dallas, Texas, this week. It revealed that Mr LaPierre used the yacht multiple times from 2013 to 2018 for a "security retreat".

"This was offered as a security retreat where we could be safe and feel safe ... I used it as a security retreat," he said.

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The deadly shootings in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead, and the Newton, Connecticut, shooting that left 28 dead including 20 children, had Mr LaPierre feeling unsafe for himself and his family, he claimed. Mr LaPierre, a gun enthusiast, has been president of the NRA since 1991.

The yacht was owned by David Mckenzie, who works as a Hollywood producer, and it featured a cook, several staterooms, a jet boat, and waverunners.

Mr LaPierre claimed he used the yacht in the summers following the two deadly shootings to remain safe. But the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened in December 2012, six months before “the summer” when the NRA executive used the yacht. The Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School occurred on 14 February, 2018 – again several months before “the summer” when Mr LaPierre used the yacht.

Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun-control group Moms Demand Action, revealed portions of Mr LaPierre's deposition on Tuesday on Twitter after it was unsealed over the weekend.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?" Ms Watts asked, which was a play on the "good guy with a gun" line often heard by gun users following mass shootings.

The usage of a yacht by Mr LaPierre was one of several revelations that would likely come this week during the Texas hearing to determine if the NRA would be allowed to file for bankruptcy.

This hearing comes after New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against the NRA that alleged the organisation's top executives used tens of millions of dollars to fund their luxury lifestyles, thus impacting their nonprofit status if true. Claims included that top executives were misusing money for vacations, private jets, and expensive meals.

NRA lawyers have accused Ms James of filing a lawsuit that was politically motivated. The organisation then decided to file for bankruptcy in Texas in an attempt to avoid the New York lawsuit.