Jason Aldean Addresses Gun Control Debate, Feels That Both Sides Need to Find a Compromise
While Jason Aldean recently shared in an interview that he doesn't think it's his place to get involved in the debate over gun control policy, it would be difficult for the country star to take a completely impersonal stance on the topic: He was in the midst of a performance at Route 91 Harvest Festival last October when gunfire suddenly broke out, resulting in the death of 58 people and injury to hundreds more, in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Not only did Aldean's bass player find a bullet lodged in his instrument following the tragedy, but the country star's crew of nearly 40 people, along with his then-pregnant wife Brittany Kerr, were all onsite at the festival. Two of his team's tour buses were shot, as well as their lighting board and stage, a recent interview with Billboard reports.
In the wake of the shooting, Aldean felt grateful that none of his crew or family members were harmed, but also devastated -- and wracked with guilt -- over the victims that had come to the festival to hear him play. In the weeks and months following the shooting, the country star connected with surviving victims of the attack.
"Going back to the hospital, going back to Vegas and seeing those people. Seeing some of the strength they were having. People laid up in the hospital and smiling and laughing and just being glad they were alive. That sort of stuff helped me to look at it in a different view," Aldean explained to Billboard.
However, Aldean has some reservations about expressing his political opinions about gun policy. Not only does he not want his fans to feel as if he's exploiting the tragedy to sell more records, but he knows that taking a stance in political debates is a "no-win situation," rife with opportunity to upset people on both sides of the debate.
A gun-owner himself, Aldean did express to Billboard that he thinks that the country's current gun policy isn't perfect. "It's too easy to get guns, first and foremost," he explains. "When you can walk in somewhere and get one in five minutes, do a background check in five minutes, how in-depth is that background check? Those are the issues I have. It's not necessarily the guns themselves, or that I don't think people should have them. I have a lot of them."
While Aldean maintains that his role is to be an entertainer, not to propose changes in policy, he did suggest that those on both sides of the debate have lost sight, amid the horror of the tragedy of the need to work together in order to solve the problem. "Nobody is looking at what the actual issue is and really how to come to an agreement and make a smart decision," Aldean adds.
On a personal note, Aldean dedicated his newest album, Rearview Town, to the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. However, the country star didn't feel the need to respond to the tragedy explicitly in the music on that album, particularly because the project was largely finished before the tragedy occurred. He has made it a point to continue to play live for his fans and will hit the road this summer for his High Noon Neon Tour, and will also return to Vegas this weekend for the 2018 ACM Awards.
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims