Country Star Eric Church Speaks Out Against the NRA in the Wake of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting
The “Springsteen” singer, 41, gave a wide-ranging interview for Rolling Stone‘s August cover story and opened up about his feelings toward the shooting and the National Rifle Association’s responsibility in the aftermath of the attack.
“There are some things we can’t stop. Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school,” he said. “But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas.”
Church, who had left Vegas when the shooting occurred, struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.
“It’s selfish of me. But my first thought was, ‘I hope it’s not our fans,’” he said. “We had a lot of fans there. We even promoted online travel options to make it easier for people to come. I felt like the bait: People come to see you play, and then all of a sudden they die?”
“That is not an emotion that I was prepared to deal with,” Church added. “It wrecked me in a lot of ways.”
The tragedy left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded.
“It got dark for me for a while. I went through a period, a funk, for six months at least,” he said. “I had anger. I’ve still got anger. Something broke in me that night, and it still hasn’t healed. There’s a part of me that hopes it haunts me forever.”
The singer, who is a gun owner, told the magazine he blamed “the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.”
“I’m a second amendment guy but I feel like they’ve been a bit of a roadblock,” the singer said of the organization. “I don’t care who you are — you shouldn’t have that kind of power over elected officials.”
He continued, “To me it’s cut-and-dried: The gun-show [loophole] would not exist if it weren’t for the NRA, so at this point in time, if I was an NRA member, I would think I had more of a problem than the solution. I would question myself real hard about what I wanted to be in the next three, four, five years.”
Church made it clear he understood many of his fans would disagree with him but he wasn’t swayed to change his outlook.
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“I don’t care,” he told Rolling Stone. “Right’s right and wrong’s wrong. I don’t understand why we have to fear a group [like the NRA]. It’s asinine. Why can’t we come together and solve one part of this? Start with the bump stocks and the gun shows. Shut a couple of these down. I do think that will matter a little bit. I think it will save some lives.”
Singer Jason Aldean was performing at the music festival when the shooter opened fire.
He told Entertainment Weekly in March that it was “not [his] place” to stand up for a particular gun policy change.
“I’m not a politician,” Aldean said. “I’m not trying to push my own agenda. If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half. I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know? I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer.”
“When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system,” he added.