Chris Cox had been executive director of the National Rifle Association since 2002 [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

The National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist has resigned in another sign of infighting within the powerful US gun lobbying group.

Chris Cox’s departure came on Wednesday, just days after the NRA placed him on administrative leave, claiming he was part of a failed attempt to extort the longtime CEO.

His resignation was confirmed by Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA spokesman. No other comment was immediately made about his departure.

Cox was long viewed as the likely successor to CEO Wayne LaPierre, who has been at the helm for decades.

Cox had been the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s political and lobbying arm,

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