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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Heston guns for fourth NRA term
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston: "From my cold, dead hands"
Film star Charlton Heston is to stand for an unprecedented fourth term as chairman of the National Rifle Association in the United States after changing his mind about stepping down.

Heston told the NRA's 130th convention in Kansas City on Saturday: "Until recently, I'd planned for this to be my farewell address as your president.

"But I've been asked, and I've agreed, to stand for a fourth term."

The NRA's board of directors elect a president on Monday.


I have only five words for you: From my cold, dead hands

Charlton Heston
"Of course, we can't predict the outcome of the election, but chances are pretty good I'll postpone my farewell address another year," Heston said to cheers.

He praised the 4.3 million members of the NRA for their overwhelming success in electing pro-gun candidates in the US elections in November 2000.

The group says 86% of the 10,000 candidates it endorsed won.

"Freedom-loving Americans begged us to make the difference in the most closely contested election in the nation's history," said Heston.

"Liberty was on the line, and God bless you, you who made the difference," he said.

Heston added: "You are of the same lineage as the farmers who stood at Concord Bridge" at the start of the American Revolution.

Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston: Spokesman for US gun enthusiasts
Given a musket from that war, he held it above his head and said, "I have only five words for you: From my cold, dead hands."

Across the street from the convention, some 200 NRA opponents met to hear speeches.

Demonstrators held signs referring to Heston's movie roles.

One read: "Send Charlton Heston back to the Planet of the Apes", while another said: "Hey Charlie, we loved you in the Nine Commandments (thou shalt not kill excluded)."

Membership of the NRA is at an all-time high, with an increase of several hundred thousand in the past year alone.

Fortune magazine recently called it the most pwerful lobbying group in Washington.

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See also:

15 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Heston attacks British gun laws
01 Mar 00 | Americas
Charlton Heston defends gun laws
15 Nov 00 | Scotland
Heston's gun claims criticised
01 Aug 00 | Entertainment
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Analysis: What is the NRA?
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