The country music world, which largely represents red-state America, is now in the mainstream media spotlight on the issue of gun confiscation and control.
The fact that Las Vegas’ mass shooting occurred at a country music concert puts one of the heartland’s most prized institutions on the front lines of the gun control debate.
Immediately, modern country music stars who work for major record companies started expressing their shock and disbelief at the shooting, which ISIS has claimed credit for. Natural reactions of grief and sadness are natural, human, and expected. But the mainstream media is already touting the country stars who are speaking out for Hollywood’s line on disarming Americans.
NPR, AOL, and others report that Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter is now a gun control supporter, repudiating his past beliefs.
In a piece entitled “Las Vegas shooting: What’s impact on country music’s gun culture,” USA Today Network featured the words of The Tennessean writers Jordan Buie and Dave Boucher:
While many musical genres routinely reference weapons, the NRA sought to formalize its relationship with country music in 2010, creating NRA Country.
The brand features artists, including Florida Georgia Line and Trace Adkins, promoting some of their appearances. It also sells merchandise, including a T-shirt with the empty chamber of a revolver inside the sound hole of a guitar and another shirt that says “music, firearms, freedom.”
There is a clear connection between NRA members and country fans, said Vanessa Shahidi, director of NRA Country, in a 2015 interview before the NRA had its annual conference in Nashville.
“It’s no secret,” Shahidi said at the time. “If you poll our members, they love country music.”
The White House has signaled an openness to discussing gun laws at some point in the future, after the mourning period in Las Vegas is over.