Eric Church is taking a stand against the NRA, one of America's most influential political lobbies.
In 2017, Church headlined one evening of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The performance was scheduled to be his last concert of the year. Two nights later, Stephen Paddock killed dozens and injured hundreds when he opened fire on the festival attendees from a hotel room above.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Church reflected on the incident. He grappled with his guilt about his fans being there, pointing out that he had even offered fans travel coupons to make it easier to get there. He admitted that hearing about the shooting "wrecked" him.
And, he talked about his outlook on the NRA following that horrific mass shooting, which left several members of his fan club dead and injured. “I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA," Church said.
That doesn't mean he's giving up his guns. Church still describes himself as a "Second Amendment guy" and is a gun owner. That doesn't mean he's for absolute and unregulated access to firearms for everyone, though.
"But nobody should have that many guns and that much ammunition and we don’t know about it. Nobody should have 21 AKs and 10,000 rounds of ammunition and we don’t know who they are," Church told Rolling Stone. "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."
It's a step forward for a country music megastar like Church to enter the debate on gun control — a much needed step. For Church it's an emotional issue as well as a question of moral responsibility to his fans; if open-air concerts aren't safe, then how can Church, in good conscience, keep asking people to come see him?
Church said he is ready for any pushback from country music fans on the issue, saying "right is right and wrong is wrong." He advocated for starting with legislation against bump stocks and closing the gun show loophole.
At the end of the interview, Church told the reporter: "I enjoyed this. I feel like these things need to be discussed. That’s the problem with this country. We don’t talk to each other enough. We dig in, we don’t listen and we don’t talk."
He's damn straight: if country music's biggest stars can stop being afraid of their fans and talk about what they think is right and wrong they're in the position to not only encourage discourse between the left leaning and right leaning factions of America, but possibly change some minds on what's right and wrong.