In @RollingStone, country music singer Eric Church calls out the @NRA for being a "roadblock" to gun reform: “...we could have stopped the guy in Vegas. I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.” https://t.co/H91GROqo3m— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 26, 2018
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, a self-professed “gun guy” and country singer said he thinks the National Rifle Association bears much of the blame for gun violence today.
Country artist Eric Church owns about half a dozen guns himself, although he doesn’t own any AR-15s.
“I’m a Second Amendment guy,” he said in the interview. “That’s in the Constitution, it’s people’s right, and I don’t believe it’s negotiable.”
But he said he does see that a need exists to prevent mass shootings from happening — like the one he witnessed firsthand in Las Vegas, Nevada, last fall.
“[N]obody should have that many guns and that much ammunition and we don’t know about it,” he explained, referring to the shooter Stephen Paddock. "Nobody should have 21 AKs and 10,000 rounds of ammunition and we don’t know who they are. Something’s gotta be done so that a person can’t have an armory and pin down a Las Vegas SWAT team for six minutes. That’s f***ed up.”
He said he sees a need for meaningful reforms to gun laws, including better background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, and banning accessories like bump stocks.
But mass shootings keep on happening, even beyond Las Vegas. Church placed the blame wholly on Washington lawmakers beholden to gun groups.
“I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA,” Church said.
The NRA has too much power over lawmakers, he went on.
“I don’t care who you are — you shouldn’t have that kind of power over elected officials,” he said. “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, who was at the music festival the night the Las Vegas shooting occurred, said that he went through a “funk” after the event.
“I had anger. I’ve still got anger,” Church explained. “Something broke in me that night, and it still hasn’t healed. There’s a part of me that hopes it haunts me forever.”
Church’s views on gun violence in America are precisely correct; the gun lobby has too strong of a hold on Washington. When a comedian, posing as a pro-gun zealot, can convince lawmakers with very little arm-wrangling to make outlandish statements in support of arming toddlers, for example, it’s a sign that things have gone way off the deep end, and that Church’s own observations about the gun lobby are spot on.
We need lawmakers in Washington to start to understand that the American people want gun laws reformed. Representatives need to stop thinking about the money the NRA is giving them and start to focus on the needs of their constituents.