Charlton Heston, actor, conservative, and gun rights activist, currently serving his 4th term as president of the National Rifle Association, has taken this NRA slogan (“I’ll give up my gun—when they pry it from my cold, dead, hands”) and made it his own.
Heston, known for his portrayal of Moses in The Ten Commandments and Taylor in Planet of the Apes, has become a very popular figurehead for the NRA. -brazil- points out in Charlton Heston Is My President that the NRA forbids a president to serve more than one term, but Heston is currently serving his fourth. In a speech given in May, 2000, Heston told the crowd:
”George Washington hung around until the Revolutionary War was won. Roosevelt hung around until the world war was won. Reagan hung around until the Cold War was won. If you want, I'll hang around until we win this one too."
"I intend to dedicate my remaining time as president of the NRA to ensure that the Second Amendment is safe from Al Gore and all those who threaten it. Sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blue steel when ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument."
"So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take our freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore. From my cold dead hands!" 1
Since then, he has repeated those five words frequently at NRA rallies, including the one held just days after the Columbine shootings,2 to the delight of cheering crowds.
Prior to beginning his fourth term as NRA president, Heston (then 77) announced that he would run again:
"Because they asked me, and because I've come to feel that I could do some good for them," Heston told reporters afterward in explaining his decision. "A pretty face will carry you a long way....My main contribution is my public identity. But that's a pretty useful contribution."
. . . The election is Monday, and Heston is expected to win. "Who'd run against Moses?" asked Bill Powers, an NRA spokesman, referring to one of Heston's signature film roles.3
2 see Bowling for Columbine
3”Speakers at NRA convention rouse members with warnings of gunless future” by Matt Stearns, The Kansas City Star , 05/19/01 quoted on http://pages.prodigy.net/vanhooser/charlton_heston_plans_fourth_term.htm 1/26/03
Incidentally, a “From my cold dead hands” bumpersticker is available from the NRA for $1… http://store.nrahq.org/nra/product.asp?dept%5Fid=221&pf%5Fid=SS+21706
Author's note: Charlton Heston is not my president. (I had never even heard this slogan before viewing Bowling for Columbine.)