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Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
Heston steps up gun campaign
Charlton Heston in fighting mood
Charlton Heston in fighting mood
The Oscar-winning actor, Charlton Heston, has been re-elected as President of the National Rifles Association, for an unprecendented third time.

The actor - famous for making action movies and appearing in gun-toting Wild West films - has fast become America's most famous gun advocate, spearheading the organisation's national campaign.

The campaign wants to safeguard the rights of people to bear arms.

Speaking at the organisation's annual convention in North Carolina - a vintage musket thrust high above his head - Mr Heston defiantly said the gun would have to be prised "from my cold dead hands".

Warning to Gore

He vowed to lead the charge against the Democratic presidential nominee, Vice President Al Gore.

Mr Gore is in full support of the Clinton administration's new gun laws which would make it harder for criminals to buy firearms.

The NRA say such a law would affect law-abiding gun users and pave the way for the complete confiscation of firearms.

The organisation says it is because of this that membership has reached a record level at 3.6 million men and women.

"I think President Clinton's views on firearms are irritating a lot of people," the actor said.

He said he would back the Republican US presidential nominee, Texas Governor George W. Bush and make campaign appearances on behalf of dozens of congressional candidates who support the NRA's views.

"I will be campaigning, as I always do in elections, for a number of candidates and a number of incumbents in both the House [of Representatives] and Senate," he said.

Anti-gun campaigners are also a growing lobby - only last weekend thousands demonstrated in support of tough new gun laws in a nationwide event.

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America and the gun
Click below for the key background stories and analysis

Key stories:
Guns and politics
See also:

15 May 00 | Americas
US moms protest against guns
17 Mar 00 | Americas
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07 Jan 00 | Issues
Campaign issues: Gun law
01 Mar 00 | Americas
Analysis: What is the NRA?
01 Mar 00 | Americas
Firearms: A civil liberties issue?
01 Mar 00 | Americas
Charlton Heston defends gun laws
02 Mar 00 | Americas
Aiming for the 'smart gun'
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