INDIANAPOLIS — The president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver L. North, announced on Saturday that he would not serve a second term as the gun rights group faces some of its worst turmoil in years and grapples with an internal battle for its future.
Mr. North said he would not be renominated in a letter that was read on his behalf at the group’s annual convention, where he and insurgents in the organization had sought to oust Wayne LaPierre, the group’s longtime chief executive.
The power struggle was likely to be resolved at the group’s board meeting on Monday.
Behind it is a widening crisis involving a legal battle between the N.R.A. and its most influential contractor, Ackerman McQueen, amid renewed threats from regulators in New York, where the N.R.A. is chartered, to investigate the group’s tax-exempt status. With contributions lagging, the N.R.A. is also facing an increasingly well-financed gun control movement, motivated by a string of mass shootings.
In the statement that was read to group members, Mr. North said he believed a committee should be created to review the N.R.A.’s finances.
There is a “clear crisis” and “it needs to be dealt with” if the N.R.A. is to survive, he said.
Mr. North, who was recently installed as president, was the central figure in the Reagan-era Iran-contra affair and remains a hero to many on the right.
His announcement caught high-ranking members of the organization off guard, as well as members.
“Can you tell me what’s going on?” one member asked a reporter on Saturday, outside a ballroom where the group was holding a meeting of its membership.
But Mr. LaPierre appeared to be fully in control of the group at the meeting, receiving healthy applause from the members during a speech that was heavily critical of two leading New York politicians that have been thorns in his group’s side: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and Attorney General Letitia James.
“He and his supporters will stop at nothing to advance his personal political agenda,” he said of Mr. Cuomo.
On Wednesday, Mr. North had asked Mr. LaPierre to resign. On Thursday, Mr. LaPierre, in a letter to the N.R.A.’s board, accused Mr. North of threatening to leak damaging information about him and other N.R.A. executives unless he stepped down.
“Yesterday evening, I was forced to confront one of those defining choices — styled, in the parlance of extortionists — as an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Mr. LaPierre wrote. “I refused it.”