Pat Benatar Won't Sing 'Hit Me with Your Best Shot' on Tour amid Gun Violence in U.S.: 'I Can't'

Pat Benatar said skipping the song is her "small contribution to protesting"

Pat Benatar
Pat Benatar. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty

Pat Benatar is saying goodbye for now to one of her most popular hits as a means of protesting gun violence in the United States.

The rocker, 69, said in a new interview that she is no longer performing "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" while on tour, as she feels as though its lyrics are offensive to people who've lost loved ones in mass shootings.

"We're not doing 'Hit Me with Your Best Shot' and fans are having a heart attack and I'm like, I'm sorry, in deference to the victims of the families of these mass shootings, I'm not singing it," the star told USA Today. "I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it."

The 1980 hit, which challenges a love interest to give it his/her "best shot," famously includes the line "Hit me with your best shot/Fire away."

"[The title] is tongue in cheek, but you have to draw the line. I can't say those words out loud with a smile on my face, I just can't," Benatar said. "I'm not going to go on stage and soap box — I go to my legislators — but that's my small contribution to protesting. I'm not going to sing it. Tough."

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There have been 356 mass shootings thus far in 2022, and 24,534 people have been killed by gun violence this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Several have made headlines in recent months, including a shooting at a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois that killed seven people, and one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee said in a press release that it had advanced the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2021, which would ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons.

The act, sponsored by Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, is the first markup of the assault weapons ban since 1994. The bill passed 25 to 18, and every Republican present voted no.

Cicilline said in a statement that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was associated with a 25 percent drop in gun massacres and a 40 percent drop in fatalities.

"As soon as the ban expired, fatalities and shootings skyrocketed again," he said. "In fact, researchers estimate that if we still had a federal Assault Weapons Ban, we would see 70 percent fewer mass shooting deaths."

Benatar, who is currently on tour through September, has advocated for her beliefs in the past. In 2017, she recorded a song called "Shine" in support of the Women's March on Washington, with proceeds from the track benefiting the B.A. Rudolph Foundation, which gives scholarships to young women pursuing unpaid internships in politics, public service or the sciences.

Invincible, a jukebox musical reimagining of Romeo and Juliet that she and husband Neil Giraldo have long had in the works, is set to premiere in November. Benatar will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that same month.

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