US Marine Corps Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North speaks at an NRA convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S. May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
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Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North's appointment as the next president of the National Rifle Association gives some star power to the gun lobby but also inspires disdain by gun-control advocates who call it a tone-deaf move that shows an unwillingness to find solutions to gun violence.North, 74, the Marine at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s and a darling of the right, will be the biggest celebrity to lead the 5-million-member gun lobby since Hollywood leading man Charlton Heston, who famously declared in 2000 that his guns would have to be taken "from my cold, dead hands".North was picked Monday by the NRA's board of directors, which elects a president every two years.North's appointment was hailed by gun-rights supporters who consider him a warrior who will vigorously battle efforts to restrict access to firearms. Gun-control advocates called his appointment symptomatic of an NRA tone-deaf and unwilling to seek solutions to gun violence.Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and an expert on guns and the Second Amendment, called North the closest thing the NRA has to a celebrity.
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