Country music star Eric Church did the unthinkable — he criticized the National Rifle Association.
In an interview in Rolling Stone published last week, Church blamed the NRA and gun lobbyists for being a “roadblock” to gun safety.
“There are some things we can’t stop,” Church told Rolling Stone, “like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school. But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas.”
Church is known for being his own man and making bold statements in songs. But busting the NRA is a radical move for any country music artist. There are some lines you just don’t cross without risking your career. Church told Rolling Stone he doesn’t care.
Church called himself a Second Amendment guy but said the gun-show [loophole] would not exist if it weren’t for the NRA, which he called “more of a problem than a solution.”
“Right’s right and wrong’s wrong. I don’t understand why we have to fear a group [like the NRA]. It’s asinine,” Church said. “Why can’t we come together and solve one part of this? Start with the bump stocks and the guns shows. Shut a couple of these down. I don’t think it will matter a little bit. I think it will save lives.”
It took guts for Church to speak out against the NRA. The organization likely enjoys strong support among his fans. Critics called it career suicide.
Then again, it’s personal for the country music star. Church performed at the Harvest Festival in Las Vegas two nights before a gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others in the worst mass shooting in modern history.
Plus, Church isn’t wrong when he suggests the NRA could do more to prevent mass shootings. Banning bump stocks and closing loopholes in the gun purchase process are commonsense measures that could prevent tragedies. As gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts, we don’t have a problem with these solutions. Neither do most Americans.
We’ve never understood why the NRA doesn’t advocate for these types of reforms, especially given the fact that the majority of the public supports these measures. Obviously it wants to avoid a “slippery slope” scenario that could lead to more gun control regulations.
Still, why the NRA doesn’t try to be a reasonable voice in this debate – which would ultimately strengthen its position politically — is beyond us. It could be part of a solution. We think it’s a tactical error for the organization not to take a leadership role on issues like banning bump stocks.
Regardless, the NRA should take pause of Church’s commentary, which we readily acknowledge is not widespread in the country music community and probably never will be.
When a country music star of Church’s stature is willing to speak up, maybe it’s time the NRA listened and reconsidered some of its positions.