In a new interview with Billboard, country music stars and couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw made it very clear that they both support "common sense" gun control. This is an not easy position to take when standing in the country music industry spotlight, where you risk alienating the large majority of fans - i.e. consumers - are conservatives who clutch tight to their second amendment rights.
Reflecting on the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1, which happened during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, and still fresh in his memory, McGraw did not shy away from the sensitive subject.
“Look, I’m a bird hunter — I love to wing-shoot,” said McGraw. “However, there is some common sense that’s necessary when it comes to gun control. They want to make it about the Second Amendment every time it’s brought up. It’s not about the Second Amendment.”
Hill echoed McGraw's sentiments, sharing that they had friends at the music festival:
In reference to the tragedy in Las Vegas, we knew a lot of people there. The doctors that [treated] the wounded, they saw wounds like you’d see in war. That’s not right. Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians. It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the government and the National Rifle Association, to tell the truth. We all want a safe country.
Sure enough, there was blowback.
@bulldoghill https://t.co/bnNsHY8Xtl— Deplorable Vol. 4 (@Deplorable Vol. 4) 1510317515.0
The interview has led to criticism from conservatives, who say celebrities don't understand politics and that they should stop alienating their audiences.
John Dibble of Montana believes musicians have nothing worth saying: "Sometimes people get so high off people listening to them sing, they begin to think they really have something to say!"
@JoeFreedomLove @Tenn_Guy @descarteslover Sometimes people get so high off people listening to them sing, they begi… https://t.co/KhBJYVSbX7— John Dibble (@John Dibble) 1510346007.0
Edward C. Frye eloquently surmises that "country folk" will stop buying their albums.
@JoeFreedomLove @descarteslover He won't sell many records to us country folk doing that.— Edward C. Frye (@Edward C. Frye) 1510345046.0
And while Wendy thinks it is great that McGraw and Hill are calling for gun control, considering that the NRA base are mostly country music listeners...
GREAT to see country stars like Tim McGraw calling for gun control since a big part of #NRA base are country music… https://t.co/3bCfuCh5uF— Wendy McClelland (@Wendy McClelland) 1510340276.0
...others are not as thrilled.
@wendyweb47 no gun control till they start putting the left wing extremist in jail for all the brutal attacks duri… https://t.co/my2PRXyRBB— Just ME (@Just ME) 1510340506.0
Despite the criticism and blowback, none of the performers at the 51st Annual Country Music Association Awards Wednesday night shied away from the subject.
Last week the CMA banned reporters from asking performers their thoughts on the subjects of the Las Vegas shooting or gun control, threatening revoked credentials and immediate removal by security escort.
One angry tweet from CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley...
I'm sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines. In 3...2....1.....— Brad Paisley (@Brad Paisley) 1509721751.0
...and one from female vocalist of the year nominee Maren Morris...
Country music has always been about the truth. Out of respect for the Las Vegas victims, let’s keep it that way.— MAREN MORRIS (@MAREN MORRIS) 1509723224.0
...and the ban was quickly lifted.
Paisley kicked off the show acknowledging the tragedy: “The way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music — loud and proud. Our music lifts people up and that’s what we’re here to do tonight. So this year’s show is dedicated to all of those we’ve lost and to all of those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you.”
Paisley and his co-host Carrie Underwood, joined by McGraw, Hill, and other country A-listers, honored the Las Vegas victims on stage with a performance of the Hootie and the Blowfish song, “Hold My Hand.” Later in the evening, Underwood paid further tribute with “Softly and Tenderly” during the awards’ in memoriam.
Despite this, for those who wanted the awards ceremony to be more politicized, it was not enough.
Last night country music artist Sturgill Simpson busked outside Bridgestone Arena during the CMAs, donating the pro… https://t.co/NFGyfgo7PI— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1510238042.0
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h/t: Billboard, People, Rollingstone,