I get that the country music industry is a little touchy on the subject of guns following the Las Vegas shooting. I mean, it was a country music festival that was targeted. They’re going to be sensitive on the subject.
The thing is, it’s probably not a good idea to blame the NRA outright for something the NRA had nothing to do with.
Country-music star Eric Church suggested in a recent interview that the NRA’s fierce opposition to gun-control laws was to blame for the mass shooting that claimed 58 lives at a country concert in Las Vegas last fall.
Church, who performed at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas two days before the October massacre, described himself as a “gun guy” in his interview with Rolling Stone, but argued that powerful gun lobbyists obstruct reforms that may have prevented the slaughter.
“There are some things we can’t stop,” Church said. “Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school. But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas. . . . I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.”
The 41-year-old star suggested that implementing federal legislation requiring background checks for all gun purchases, including those made at gun shows, might have prevented [the killer] from acquiring his legally purchased guns. [The killer] purchased the weapons used to kill concertgoers at a gun store and, due to his lack of a criminal record, passed all requisite background checks.
“I don’t care who you are — you shouldn’t have that kind of power over elected officials. 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,” Church said. “I would question myself real hard about what I wanted to be in the next three, four, five years.”
Of course, Eric Church is following the stellar career example of the Dixie Chicks.
First, there is no “gun show loophole.” All licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check, while all private individuals are exempt, same as literally anywhere else in the same city, county, or state. There’s no loophole that allows people to be armed at gun shows that wouldn’t be able to buy a gun anywhere else.
Second, as the National Review points out, the Las Vegas killer passed the background check. Why wouldn’t he? The man’s only interaction with police was the odd traffic citation. There were no red flags anywhere so far as I’ve been able to tell.
Additionally, the bump stock the killer apparently used was something that had been available for years, had been mostly ignored by anti-gunners until Las Vegas, and no real attempts had been made to regulate the stocks prior to the shooting at the music festival. How is the NRA responsible? In fact, they were approved during the Obama administration. It’s not like he was a known fan of the NRA.
In other words, the NRA had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. Church is either an idiot or has bought the media narrative so completely that it’s clouded his mind, if not both.
Frankly, making these comments as a country music singer may not be the best career move. After all, the average country music listener doesn’t tune out of a Toby Keith or Garth Brooks song so they can listen to NPR. Church might want to think about that.