Entertainment

Country Star Who Was At Route 91 Festival Blames NRA For Las Vegas Shooting

Tim Heitman

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

Country music star Eric Church may have alienated much of his fan base with a recent statement concerning the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured over 800.

Calling the National Rifle Association (NRA) a “roadblock” that prevented the Las Vegas shooter from being stopped, Church said, “I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.”

Church, who says that he himself is “a Second Amendment guy,” talked at length about the shooting during a recent interview with Rolling Stone. He had performed earlier in the festival and had just returned home when he got the news that there was an active shooter — and members of his fan club were among the victims.

The shooting took a toll on Church in a number of ways. He explained, “We had a lot of fans there. We even promoted online travel options to make it easier for people to come. I felt like the bait: People come to see you play, then all of a sudden they die? That is not an emotion that I was prepared to deal with. It wrecked me in a lot of ways … Something broke in me that night, and it still hasn’t healed. There’s a part of me that hopes it haunts me forever.”

But then Church explained how the shooting had changed the way he felt about guns.

“There are some things we can’t stop. 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.

“I’m a Second Amendment guy, but I feel like they’ve been a bit of a roadblock. 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. I would question myself real hard about what I wanted to be in the next three, four, five years.”

Church’s fans, however, may not be ready to follow him down that road. Some — proud NRA members among them — have already taken to Twitter to voice their disappointment.

In spite of a long-running investigation, there is still very little known about the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual (Stephen Paddock) in recent American history.