Country Stars React to Las Vegas Shooting: ‘I Cannot Express How Wrong I Was’


Caleb Keeter of the Josh Abbott Band, which was part of the weekend lineup in Las Vegas, said he had changed his mind on the need for gun control after the shooting.

Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

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Country music artists and other performers expressed words of sympathy as well as frustration over gun violence on Monday as they mourned the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert. One guitarist who played there said that the killings had changed his views on gun laws.

Some of these comments were politically striking, given that country music — which is widely popular across the nation — has a vocal fan base among gun owners. In 2010, the National Rifle Association started NRA Country to show “a softer side” of its organization. Its artist partners include some of the genre’s biggest stars, including Trace Adkins, Florida Georgia Line, Tyler Farr and Thomas Rhett.

The performer whose views had shifted — Caleb Keeter of the Josh Abbott Band, which was part of the weekend lineup in Las Vegas — said on Twitter on Monday that he had been “a proponent of the Second Amendment my entire life.”

He added, “Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.”

Mr. Keeter, a guitarist, said that members of the band legally had firearms on the bus, but refrained from using them for fear the police would mistakenly think they were part of the attack.

“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.” Mr. Keeter wrote. “My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”

Mr. Keeter said he had written a living will and goodbye messages to his parents and partner on Sunday…

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