In his statement, LaPierre compared North favorably to Charlton Heston, the Hollywood icon who was once president of the group.
North will become president “within a few weeks,” the group said, and is retiring from his position at Fox News, effective immediately.
North will join the NRA at an increasingly contentious juncture for the group, facing off against a renewed push for gun control in the wake of the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Some survivors of the shooting have emerged as prominent voices in favor of gun control measures and have accused the NRA of endangering lives through political influence.
In a statement slamming the choice of North, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence co-President Kris Brown referred to North as a “walking lightning rod.”
“Oliver North’s very name is synonymous with corruption and disgrace,” Brown’s statement read.
The NRA couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
LaPierre has for years assumed both public-facing and leadership roles for the group as it has navigated administrations of both parties and responses to incidences of mass gun violence. North is set to replace Pete Brownell, who the group announced on Monday would not seek a second term as NRA president.
North has since become an author and hosted Fox News’ “War Stories with Oliver North,” according to the channel.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to note that North’s retirement from Fox News is effective immediately.