Barbra Streisand has nixed the idea of a public debate with Charlton Heston on the issue of gun control and the definition of the Second Amendment.

Heston, a longtime champion of gun rights and an the elected first VP of the National Rifle Assn., challenged Streisand to a debate Monday as part of a carefully staged PR strike against Streisand’s Barwood Films’ NBC telefilm “The Long Island Inci-dent,” (Daily Variety, May 4). The vidpic told the story of Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a Long Island housewife who became a Congresswoman and gun control advocate after her husband was murdered in the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting.

On Tuesday, ABC News Radio sent letters to Streisand and Heston offering to set up a national “town hall” forum on the subject.

“I don’t think Mr. Heston’s challenge to a debate on gun control would serve the public interest, however much it might serve the public curiosity, and however much it might serve Mr. Heston’s desire to heighten awareness of his viewers or to get elected president of the NRA,” Streisand said in a statement. “I will not let him use me for that purpose.”

Heston, who is in the running to become prexy of the NRA at the group’s annual confab next month, accused Streisand’s film of “deliberate misrepresentation” of the NRA.

In a statement, NBC asserted that the web “does not take a position on this complex issue.”