DENVER -- Charlton Heston and the National Rifle Association are walking into a showdown.
The group's annual meeting, planned long before the Columbine High massacre, is scheduled for today, and the timing couldn't be worse.
The NRA has cut back its gathering from three days to one, canceled drink-and-dinner festivities, removed billboard advertisements and jettisoned plans for a gun show.
Even so, it's not enough for the Denver community, devastated by the April 20 school shootings in Littleton, 15 miles away. Students, gun-control groups and lawmakers have planned a day of protests to tell the NRA it's not welcome.
"When a community is grieving and going through a mourning, when you have more than 65,000 people showing up for services and people are burying these kids, you shouldn't have a meeting that talks about selling more guns," Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said.
The rallies are expected to begin at 9 a.m., when gun control advocates plan a silent protest on the state Capitol steps before marching to the neighboring Adams-Mark hotel and encircling the site of the NRA convention. The rally was organized by the Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence and students from Columbine and other Denver-area high schools.
Student organizer Ben Gelt has spent the week passing out fliers at high schools.
"These were people my age. They're my peer group. …