Heston Wins NRA Presidency
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Two days after assailing President Clinton’s character and views on guns, Charlton Heston today was elected the new president of the National Rifle Association.
Heston, now serving as the group’s first vice president, was chosen president of the 2.8 million-member group at a meeting of the board of directors.
Wayne LaPierre was re-elected the NRA’s executive director.
The meeting had been briefly delayed when NRA security guards had a confrontation with a board member’s husband who made a complaint about the organization’s bylaws. Guards told Ken Brodbeck, 39, of Des Moines, husband of board member Sally Drew Brodbeck, to be quiet and stop videotaping the session after the board chairwoman called him out of order.
The ``next thing I knew they tackled me onto the ground,″ he said afterward. Security officials maintained Brodbeck fell. The precise nature of his complaint wasn’t immediately clear.
At the group’s convention over the weekend, Heston urged members to close ranks to fight gun-control advocates.
``Get together,″ he said, ``or get out of the way.″
His campaign has not been without opposition.
Neal Knox, a board member who was lost the first vice presidency to Heston last year, has been quarreling with the leadership for two decades, and this year is no different.
Knox and other NRA members say that Heston has a spotty record on gun rights. He supported a federal gun-control law in 1968 after Robert Kennedy’s assassination. And he said during a radio show last year that ``AK-47s are inappropriate for private use.″
``All we are trying to do is protect the rights of members,″ Knox said.
Executive vice president Wayne LaPierre condemned Knox’s remarks.
``To attack and malign Charlton Heston is unforgivable,″ he said. ``This man has done more for our cause in one appearance than you will do in a lifetime.″
In comments Saturday, Heston attacked the media and politicians, for opposing Second Amendment rights. He had particularly harsh words for Clinton.
``Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health-care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns,″ Heston said.
The nation’s largest and oldest gun rights group is split between a hard-line faction that wants the association to fight for absolute Second Amendment rights and a more moderate group, which supports Heston, that believes some compromise to gun opponents makes sense.
Heston and LaPierre want to broaden the NRA membership and bring back shooting sports supporters scared away by more extreme members.