(CNSNews.com) – Charlton Heston, the former actor and president of the National Rifle Association who died in 2008, gave a speech in 2000 in defense of the Second Amendment, ending with his oft-repeated and now famous phrase, “From my cold, dead hands!” The phrase has since become synonymous with gun rights in America.
Heston was referring to attempts by anti-gun organizations and certain liberals, particularly then-Vice President Al Gore, to further restrict Americans’ right to own firearms.
In his May 20, 2000 speech at the 129th NRA Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Heston said, “When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty. That's why those five words issue an irresistible call to us all, and we muster.”
Then holding up a replica of a 19th century Sharps rifle, Heston continued, “So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed -- and especially for you, Mister Gore: From my cold, dead hands!”
Heston was NRA president from 1998 to 2003, at which time he resigned for health reasons. He died on Apr. 5, 2008. He had starred in such popular films as The Ten Commandments, Touch of Evil, Planet of the Apes, and Ben-Hur, for which he won the best actor Academy Award.