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NRA's LaPierre sought refuge on yacht after shootings: 'Thank God I'm safe'

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), said he sought refuge on a friend's yacht after mass shootings as a “security retreat” because of the “threat” he was under.

In a deposition that is part of the NRA’s bankruptcy proceedings, LaPierre claims he was “basically under presidential threat without presidential security” after shootings across the country, which led him to sheltering on the 108-foot yacht, named “The Illusion.”

“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under. And I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting,” LaPierre said in the deposition.

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“And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’ And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used it,” he added.

LaPierre said his first stay on the boat, which was equipped with “two or three or four staff people,” a cook and two jet-skis, was the summer after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He added that his last stay was “sometime in 2018 after the Parkland shooting in the summer.”

The longtime NRA executive said he was “under all kinds of threats” and “did not feel safe anywhere with myself or my family.” He added that the vessel “was offered as a security retreat where we could be safe and feel safe.”

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, mocked LaPierre's comments on Twitter.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?" she asked.

LaPierre's deposition is part of a trial that began this week in a Texas bankruptcy court after the gun rights organization filed for protection from creditors in January and announced plans to reincorporate in Texas.

The NRA filed for bankruptcy after New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued the group in August, claiming the organization breached state law governing nonprofit organizations, contributing to a loss of more than $64 million over three years.

During her opening remarks this week, Assistant Attorney General Monica Connell said LaPierre’s use of the boat was a clear conflict of interest and infraction of regulations regarding the NRA’s nonprofit status, The Seattle Times reported.