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Charlton Heston

At the NRA's 1997 annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, actor Charlton Heston was a last-minute surprise addition to the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. Following the meeting, the NRA board elected Heston first vice president of the organization. At 1998's meeting in Philadelphia, Heston was elected president of the NRA.

Controversy, however, has followed Heston. In December 1997, Heston delivered a speech before the Free Congress Foundation in which he made inflammatory remarks regarding women, gays and lesbians, and African Americans; while at the same time trivializing the Holocaust.

View the full text of the Heston speech.

View excerpts from the Heston speech.

Read statements by various organizations condemning Charlton Hestonís inflammatory remarks.

In the past, Heston has been criticized by a faction led by former NRA Board Member Neal Knox, who has questioned the actor's pro-gun credentials. In making these charges, Knox has pointed to pro-gun control statements made by Heston during the 1960s following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The statements were in documents obtained from The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum in Austin, Texas. Knox also has criticized Heston for remarks he made soon after his election questioning the need for citizens to own AK-47s.