By Tom Knighton
Following the Las Vegas shooting, country music has been thrust into the national conversation just as guns have. In particular, we have been able to see people’s biases regarding country music fans. In particular, that they’re not only likely to be conservatives, but that country music is somehow “gun music.”
To be fair, these voices are few and far between, but it’s still hurtful when people who enjoy country music are branded as somehow deserving this because of their choice of music. USAToday’s Kurt Bardella, however, offers some things people should keep in mind.
A lot of conversations I’ve had with reporters lately have revolved around the so-called “gun culture” of country music. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the country music genre has come under a new level of scrutiny.
To those unfamiliar with country music, it may be easy to label it as music for gun-toting, rednecks from “The South,” but settling for this stereotype demonstrates willful ignorance.
The country music community is not as monolithic as outsiders might think, a fact that’s been increasingly visible since the Las Vegas attack as musicians speak out and in some cases change their minds. “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life … I cannot express how wrong I was,” wrote Caleb Keter of the Josh Abbott Band, which performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, Roseanne, published a New York Times op-ed calling on her fellow country music artists to “stand up to the N.R.A.” Rolling Stone reports that multiple artists are re-evaluating their partnerships with the NRA’s lifestyle brand “NRA Country.”