Following the deadly massacre at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1 that killed at least 59 people and injured hundreds, dozens of artists including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, The Chainsmokers, Moby and Vic Mensa took to social media to demand stricter gun laws. Police recovered 23 guns from the shooter’s hotel room and nearly two dozen more in his homes.
Largely missing from the conversation? Mainstream country artists, whose comments leaned toward sending thoughts and prayers, eschewing any mention of gun reform even after the attack on their fans. Maren Morris dedicated the proceeds of her single, "Dear Hate" (featuring Vince Gill) to charities benefitting the victims, but neither the lyrics, which were written following the 2015 Savannah church massacre, nor the announcement from her label, Columbia Nashville, reference gun violence.
But there were two notable exceptions. In an emotional Twitter post on Oct. 2, Caleb Keeter of the Josh Abbott Band, who was caught in the shooter’s crosshairs after taking the stage, tweeted: “I have been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night, I cannot express how wrong I was... we need gun control RIGHT NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”