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Cash calls country artists to support gun control

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 – Rosanne Cash called on her fellow country artists to push for stricter gun control laws in an opinion piece in the New York Times today.

A gun control activist for 20 years, Cash called on "more artists in country and American roots music to end your silence. It is no longer enough to separate yourself quietly. The laws the N.R.A. would pass are a threat to you, your fans, and to the concerts and festivals we enjoy. The stakes are too high to not disavow collusion with the N.R.A."

Cash's comments come a day after Stephen Paddock was accused of shooting and killing 59 people at the Route 91 Harvest Fest in Las Vegas and wounding more than 500.

Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter said in a Twitter post that he changed his opinion about the need for gun control after the shootings. The Josh Abbott Band played at the Festival on Sunday.

The NRA has promoted country artists through its "NRA Country" marketing effort. Artists include Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line, Jon Pardi, Michael Ray and Chase Rice.

Cash sharply criticized an alliance between the National Rifle Association and country artists. "That wholesome public relations veneer masks something deeply sinister and profoundly destructive. There is no other way to say this: The N.R.A. funds domestic terrorism."

The NRA has promoted country artists through its "NRA Country" marketing effort. Artists include Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line, Jon Pardi, Michael Ray and Chase Rice.

"A shadow government exists in the world of gun sales, and the people who write gun regulations are the very people who profit from gun sales," Cash wrote. "The N.R.A. would like to keep it that way."

"The laws we have in place to prevent the procurement of military-style weapons by mentally ill citizens are laughable by the standards of any civilized society. But even those pathetic restrictions would be eased if the N.R.A. had its way. Just this week, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on a measure that would loosen restrictions on gun silencers and armor-piercing bullets."

Congress postponed the vote in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings.

"If the proposed law had passed before the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, and the rifles in the assailant's hotel room had been fitted with silencers, one could safely assume that the death toll would be much, much higher," Cash said. "Those who ran from the concert and survived did so because they heard the gunfire. None of that matters to the N.R.A."

Cash said she knew country artist seeking greater gun control would be "bullied for speaking out. This is how they operate. Not everyone will like you for taking a stand. Let it roll off your back. Some people may burn your records or ask for refunds for tickets to your concerts. Whatever. Find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will. Don't let them bully you into silence. That's where their power lies - in the silence of rational voices and in the apathy of those who can speak truth to power."

"Patriotism and a belief in strong gun control are not antithetical. We need common-sense gun laws, and I hope my fellow occupants of the tower of song will join me in saying so. In unity, we can drown out the bullies."

Keeter wrote, ""I've been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life," he wrote. "Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless."

"We need gun control RIGHT. NOW," he wrote. "My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn't realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac."

He later tweeted, "That being said, I'll not live in fear of anyone. We will regroup, we'll come back, and we'll rock your fucking faces off. Bet on it."

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