Embattled National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre feared for his safety after mass shootings in recent years, forcing him to seek refuge aboard a friend’s luxury yacht, a rights lawyer testified.
LaPierre made the recording in a deposit in connection with the NRA’s bankruptcy in Dallas.
“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat I was under. And I was basically under the president’s threat without the president’s security in terms of the number of threats I got,” LaPierre said.
“And we all struggled with how to deal with that kind of situation with a private citizen with the threat we had. And it was the only place that I hope could feel safe where I remember getting there,”
LaPierre was questioned as to why he did not pay the yacht’s owner, Hollywood producer Stanton McKenzie, for the use or cite it in forms of conflict of interest.
“I actually thought that given the security threat I was under and the fact that the NRA was – almost lost, how could I protect someone with the amount of threat I had, that – that my job and that threat, who came with what this was – was a place where I could go and be safe, and it was related to that I – that I – that I did it, ”he said.
LaPierre acknowledged that the craft, called Illusions, was always fully equipped with food when he used it, included two jet skis and had a crew of at least three people on board, including a chef.
His testimony was mocked by gun control activists who intervened on his often repeated line that “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?” tweeted Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.
Watts, author of “Fight Like a Mother,” also ridiculed LaPierre’s stated need for protection in “the summer after the Sandy Hook shooting.”
A gunman killed 20 children and six teachers on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“He roughly tried to connect the shooting with Sandy Hook School and his use of the yacht and said he started using it as a safe place ‘the summer after’ the mass shooting,” Watts wrote.
“The urgency of this alleged concern for LaPierre’s safety – which required him to sail – is questionable given that the shooting at Sandy Hook School took place in December – six months before ‘summer’.”