Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North has been selected to serve as the National Rifle Association’s next president, according to statements by North and the group’s board of directors.
The military historian has served as a commentator for the Fox News Channel in recent years, and the network confirmed he has announced his retirement from the position.
“I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization’s President,” North said on Monday. “I appreciate the board initiating a process that affords me a few weeks to set my affairs in order, and I am eager to hit the ground running as the new NRA President.”
NRA officials and representatives expressed their approval of the selection. CEO and Vice President Wayne LaPierre heralded the announcement as “the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association.”
Spokeswoman Dana Loesch posted a tweet in which she declared North “the last person that anti-gun advocates would want” at the helm of the NRA board.
Both the NRA and its new president bring controversy to the new partnership.
North has faced criticism for decades after his 1989 conviction for obstructing Congress as part of the Iran-Contra investigation. The NRA has been at the center of more recent backlash amid student-led activism in the wake of February’s deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school.