Will the Las Vegas massacre change country music’s view of guns? – Los Angeles Times

Country music has long idealized the gun-owning lifestyle. From Johnny Cash in “Folsom Prison Blues” to Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead” and Blake Shelton’s “Granddaddy’s Gun,” the genre’s stars have harnessed gun imagery to bolster their outlaw credibility, connect them with kindred fans and conjure a specific image of Americans — self-reliant and violent.

Whether that remains the case after a mass shooter killed at least 59 people at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas is an open question.

If the National Rifle Assn. has its way, the connection will continue unabated. But there are fissures within the country music community, with voices of dissent questioning loose gun laws, and doing so with full knowledge of likely reprisals by the gun lobby and blowback from some of the genre’s fiercest fans.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Caleb Keeter, the guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, which performed Sunday at the festival, posted on social media that the tragedy had already changed his mind on the need for gun control.

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