The National Rifle Association deflected rumors of infighting on social media by insisting that the real enemies are outside of the organization.
Chaos within the gun lobby group swelled with allegations of financial wrongdoing and long-rumored reports of NRA president Oliver North and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre butting heads.
On Saturday, North, a retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel, announced he would be stepping down.
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch claimed on Friday that "NRA members are not divided." In fact, she went further:
"We've never been more united behind the purpose of defending the Second Amendment — and we vote in droves."
The group's Twitter page backed her assertion and implied they were victims with "so many powerful forces" attacking them.
"Never in the history of the NRA have so many powerful forces attacked us on so many different fronts."
“Never in the history of the NRA have so many powerful forces attacked us on so many different fronts.” — @ChrisCoxNRA #NRAAM— NRA (@NRA)1556293076.0
But Twitter is calling their B.S.
@NRA @ChrisCoxNRA The NRA is an organization that thrives on chaos and run by some truly miserable people, now has… https://t.co/r5y3W0EAKW— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg)1556367971.0
But there is something to the NRA's tweet. Those "powerful forces" are our benevolent heroes.
@soledadobrien In fairness, given that, he’s not exactly wrong.— Franklin Leonard (@Franklin Leonard)1556375350.0
@WendyMalloyTN @soledadobrien @MomsDemand @ChrisCoxNRA Powerful forces, indeed. https://t.co/mgDk4aI7Xv— MarCNuf (@MarCNuf)1556381426.0
Moms everywhere are rejoicing.
@soledadobrien @geesemom We take it as a compliment! https://t.co/Om5yAOB0QQ— mish (@mish)1556377709.0
@soledadobrien I can’t think of any force more powerful than a bunch of pissed off moms.— Jody Wahl with an A (@Jody Wahl with an A)1556372014.0
@soledadobrien And high school kids!— Alex Leo (@Alex Leo)1556388900.0
@soledadobrien Oh and HS kids and doctors and nurses and teachers. Oh my!!— Mary Lyn (@Mary Lyn)1556372085.0
@soledadobrien And kids who took cover while under fire at school.— Vic Daring (@Vic Daring)1556372817.0
@soledadobrien @joanwalsh And Survivors— Rich Ortiz (@Rich Ortiz)1556377159.0
Meanwhile, the NRA is imploding, and people are breaking out the popcorn.
@davidhogg111 @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA They are even attacking themselves! That LaPierre/Ollie North cat fight: https://t.co/fyzwpOsqdd— 💁🏻♀️ (@💁🏻♀️)1556374140.0
@tdayspringneely @fred_guttenberg @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA Me too. I am enjoying witnessing their cannibalism and eventual… https://t.co/54rwdxF1Jd— NH Mountain Gal (@NH Mountain Gal)1556380515.0
@fred_guttenberg @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA @NRA I hope that you die and that your death comes soon. I will follow your cas… https://t.co/iW4wriH06A— Lars Hallin, AB & sceptical scientist (@Lars Hallin, AB & sceptical scientist)1556399255.0
Who pulled the trigger that led to North's ouster?
According to a letter LaPierre wrote to board members and was published by the Wall Street Journal, North tried to oust him by releasing "damaging information" on him.
The letter North threatened to release supposedly contained:
"a devastating account of our financial status, sexual harassment charges against a staff member, accusations of wardrobe expenses and excessive staff travel expenses."
Wow. Wayne Lapierre sent a letter, first obtained by @WSJ, to the NRA board accusing Oliver North and Ackerman McQu… https://t.co/Uz8e9k1J5w— Stephen Gutowski (@Stephen Gutowski)1556317762.0
Richard Childress, the NRA's first vice president, acted as master of ceremonies at the group's annual meeting on Saturday where Oliver was notably absent.
Here is Richard Childress reading a letter from Oliver North where he says he has been forced out of the NRA and th… https://t.co/af294RqBqZ— Timothy Johnson (@Timothy Johnson)1556374744.0
At the convention, Childress read a letter North wrote about the threat imposed on the NRA's tax-exempt status, which referred to New York Attorney General Letitia James opening an investigation into the association's financial improprieties and issuing subpoenas.
"There is a clear crisis and it needs to be dealt with immediately and responsibly so the NRA can continue to focus on protecting our Second Amendment," wrote North, read by Childress.
The father of Jaime Guttenberg, who was killed in the Parkland shooting, has no sympathy for the crumbling organization.
@NRA @ChrisCoxNRA When you are failing, what do you do? Whine and act like a victim. Sorry NRA, the 40,000 who di… https://t.co/qeeYXCbVNY— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg)1556328576.0
@screaminggina @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA NRA plays victim now, yet engaged in an attack of their own when the most extreme… https://t.co/BAtrGPGri6— Ropebelt (@Ropebelt)1556340041.0
The NRA is finally getting what it deserves: pandemonium.
@NRA @ChrisCoxNRA You are a propaganda front for gun manufacturers who make profits through the sale of murder, sui… https://t.co/EEbhqtj3nj— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel Jollett)1556373009.0
Former NRA advocates are turning their backs.
@NRA @ChrisCoxNRA You could've been a good organization for fellow hunters and responsible gun owners to connect bu… https://t.co/cttBFUtqaQ— Nana Cantú (@Nana Cantú)1556329822.0
@Hezigrimm @K2thebizA @nanacantu @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA @MomsDemand I know so many gun owners who have given up their me… https://t.co/HKKDx4Wos1— ill behaved woman (@ill behaved woman)1556404552.0
@nanacantu @NRA @ChrisCoxNRA @MomsDemand Hunters, responsible gun owners interested in promoting skills & safety r… https://t.co/IITYtuqWt1— Jean T (@Jean T)1556399530.0
The Daily Beast met a former NRA member, Cody Becker, who canceled his membership five years ago but renewed for the day at the convention's exhibit hall on Saturday to "fondle some guns."
Becker is disappointed in the organization. "I lost on any faith that any dollars they receive go to anything that matters," he said.
When asked about his feelings towards the NRA now, Becker replied:
"They lost their way—period. They're fucked."
It seems the NRA's membership is depleting rapidly, and it's only a matter of time before they're just shooting blanks.