Iran-Contra figure Oliver North named president of the NRA

Former United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and television host Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal under US president Ronald Reagan. (AFP)
Former United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and television host Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal under US president Ronald Reagan. (AFP)

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North has been named president of the National Rifle Association.

He gives the five million member gun lobby star power as it faces a powerful backlash over the massacres in Florida and Las Vegas.

The gung-ho Marine at the centre of the Iran-Contra affair three decades ago will be the NRA's biggest celebrity president since Hollywood leading man Charlton Heston.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre says: "Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader."

Momentum for gun control has been building since the mass shooting in Las Vegas last fall that killed 58 people and the February 14 rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead.

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