Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Video
Heston: "We are talking about an iconic bedrock of America"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 13:57 GMT
Charlton Heston defends gun laws
Charlton Heston speaking to the BBC
Guns not to blame: "We have 22,000 laws already"
The head of America's largest pro-gun lobbying organisation has denied that the US needs tighter firearms legislation following a spate of massacres - and has blamed the Clinton administration for failing to uphold the law.

In an exclusive BBC interview following the Atlanta massacre in July 1999, Hollywood legend and president of the National Rifle Association Charlton Heston said that it was vital that Americans retained their right to bear arms.

Mr Heston, who campaigns publicly around the USA, said that the massacre of 12 people in Atlanta by Mark Barton was the work of a "maladjusted adult".

Defending the right to bear arms, Mr Heston said: "We are talking about an iconic bedrock.

"This is the basis of the American democracy which is widely regarded as the first true democracy in the world - and arguably the best.

"The important thing is pursuing the law," said Mr Heston. "There are far more people killed by automobile accidents, by a factor of dozens.

"[The killings] are a shocking thing. It is fortunate that he [Mark Barton] saw fit to kill himself."

Constitutional right

The NRA says that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the US constitution - a claim that is hotly disputed by gun control campaigners.



Barton: "Maladjusted man"
Mr Heston said that there are already 22,000 gun laws in force across the USA.

The problem was not that there were not enough laws, he said, but that President Clinton was failing to ensure that those that exist were properly enforced.

And he told the BBC that he had even gained support from the father of a victim of the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999.

"There is an overwhelming majority of the American population, some 80%, strongly supporting the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment," said Mr Heston.

"I got a call from the father of one of the students who was killed by those crazy kids in Colorado.

"And he said to me, 'Mr Heston, I don't have any guns in my house now.

"'But this is not about guns, it is about maladjusted adolescents.'

"This man [Mark Barton] was a maladjusted adult," he concluded.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Americas Contents

Country profiles
See also:

30 Oct 99 |  Americas
Analysis: What is the NRA?
30 Jul 99 |  Americas
Atlanta killings stun America
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories