Country Music And Gun Control: The Evolution Of A Divided Fan Base


If country music artists have learned anything from history, it’s to stay away from God, guns, and politics. One only needs to look back at the epic fall of the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President George W. Bush. This is because country music fans are a largely conservative group, politically speaking. A large portion are white guys who love guns, trucks, and hunting. Many of them see government as intrusive and call liberals “snowflakes” on the regular. But in the wake of so many mass shootings, country music artists are beginning to sound off on gun control. And many of them are starting to clash with their base.

Route 91 Harvest Festival

country music, gun control, artists
Scenes from the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada (photo from the Daily Mail)

It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history, save the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Certainly the deadliest of modern times. 58 people lay dead and more than 500 were wounded when a gunman opened fire from a broken-out window the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017. It was horrifying, to say the least. But aside from the carnage, the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival did something important for country music. It brought country music into the gun debate.

Taking place at a country music festival, neither fans nor artists could any longer insulate themselves from the effects of the ridiculously unregulated gun market in the United States.  The shooting brought fans and artists to the table of the debate, whether or not they wanted a seat.

As it turns out, some of them did.

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