Top NRA executive Chris Cox resigns amid tumultuous time for the gun group

Cox is one of the most recognizable leaders in the NRA's top brass.

June 26, 2019, 1:16 PM

A high-ranking leader of the NRA has resigned amid growing turmoil in the gun group.

Chris Cox has stepped down from his post as the NRA’s chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for the Institute for Legislative Action – the lobbying arm for the NRA, according to Andrew Arulanandum, the NRA’s managing director for public affairs.

Neither the NRA nor Cox have released a statement about his resignation or confirmed any details as to what prompted the move.

ABC News was not able to immediately reach Cox.

Cox’s resignation comes days after the New York Times reported he had been put on administrative leave. In the article, Cox denied that he was pushing for an internal coup to oust NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre.

Nation Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Christopher W. Cox speaks at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, April 26, 2019.
Michael Conroy/AP, FILE

In a statement to the newspaper, Cox called the allegations "offensive and patently false."

"For over 24 years I have been a loyal and effective leader in this organization," he said in the statement, according to the paper. "My efforts have always been focused on serving the members of the National Rifle Association, and I will continue to focus all of my energy on carrying out our core mission of defending the Second Amendment."

Cox is one of the public faces of the NRA. He was the one who announced the NRA's endorsement of then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

The group has been under both internal and external scrutiny of late amid reports of alleged financial mismanagement. Its former president, Oliver North, resigned in April and the fallout has continued in connection to ongoing lawsuits.

Beyond the internal politics of the organization's hierarchy, it also announced Tuesday that it will be stopping production of NRA-TV.

"After careful consideration, I am announcing that starting today, we are undergoing a significant change in our communications strategy. We are no longer airing 'live TV' programming. Whether and when we return to 'live' programming is a subject of ongoing analysis," LaPierre said in a statement posted to the NRA website.

"What necessitated the change now is our conclusion that our longtime advertising firm and website vendor failed to deliver upon many contractual obligations it made to our Association," the statement reads.

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