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NRA Re-Elects Heston As President

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlton Heston was unanimously re-elected by the National Rifle Association's executive board today to a third one-year term as president — and said he might consider a fourth term if asked.

He also told reporters he expected the NRA to grow from its present 3.6 million members to 4 million by election day.

``I think President Clinton's point of view on firearms has united a lot of people,'' he said. ``Let's put it this way, the Second Amendment is alive and well.''

Earlier this month, the NRA said the gun lobby's bylaws were being amended to allow Heston, first elected in 1998, to run for a third term. Traditionally, NRA officers are elected to one-year terms and may serve only two terms concurrently.

On Sunday, the NRA's female members concluded the group's 129th convention by trying to counter the call for stricter gun laws a week ago at the Million Mom March in Washington.

``I choose to own a gun because I am a good mother,'' said Maria Heil, an NRA member. ``If you care about your children, you should make sure you have the ability to defend them.''

Good parenting, gun-safety education and self-defense are valid alternatives to more gun-control laws, the female speakers said Sunday.

Barbara Phillips, a member of the NRA's executive board, called the tens of thousands of Million Mom March protesters ``misinformed and confused.''

Eleven of the NRA's 76 directors are women, as is the second vice president, Sandy Froman.The group doesn't keep figures on how many of the 3.6 million members are women, spokeswoman Trish Hilton said, but she said female membership is growing quickly.

In a Gallup poll earlier this month, three-fourths of women surveyed said they support stricter gun controls, compared with about half of men.

``I am not at all impressed with polls that say women want gun control,'' said Marion Hammer, who served as the group's president in 1996 and 1997 . ``I'll tell you what — women want more than gun control. They want to be safe in their homes.''


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