Cam Weighs in on Gun Control: ‘Nobody’s Trying to Take Away Guns’
The debate over gun control hits closer to home in country music after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and Cam is among the artists who have begun speaking out on the politically charged topic in public.
The "Diane" singer performed at the Vegas Strong concert and visited with shooting victims and ER staff after the shooting that killed at least 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1. She tells Rolling Stone Country that she's encouraged by the country music reaction to the shooting spree.
"We think of fans as family," she says. "I think the next step that you think of is how concerned everyone is for security. [T]hen the next part is gun control and talking about what that means. I think people are realizing the divisiveness over, like, when people are trying to make it like someone's trying to take away your guns. Nobody's trying to take away guns. Eighty percent of gun owners believe that there should be background checks."
Cam is one of a small handful of country artists who joined artists from other genres in signing an open letter to Congress in an effort to address common sense gun legislation after the mass gun murders at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in June of 2016. She says she experienced people challenging her via social media, asking her which side she's on.
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"As if there's a side to a completely multifaceted thing," Cam reasons. "I hope that people can start seeing through that. What you realize is that there is something we can all agree on, and it's just that nobody should be able to walk in and buy that many guns. We do it for Sudafed! We can come up with a couple basic things, and it's not anti-guns. I'm coming from a household that has guns. I think not letting politics divide everyone is hopefully where we're headed."
In a recent interview with Taste of Country, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts called background checks "the single most effective thing that will save American lives, in terms of gun safety laws," citing data from the 19 U.S. states that have passed mandatory background checks.
“When you look at those states, you see domestic violence shootings and homicides cut almost in half," Watts says. "You see police homicides with a gun by a civilian cut almost in half. You see gun trafficking cut almost in half. Interestingly, you see gun suicides cut almost in half, and you see general gun homicides reduced significantly. So we know that those laws work.”
Other common sense measures that experts propose include limitations on high capacity magazines, restrictions on bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons, mental health checks for gun owners, laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, child access safety laws and more.
Country artists have traditionally been very reticent about speaking publicly about gun control for fear of offending fans, but that tide is slowly shifting. Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow and Chely Wright have weighed in since Las Vegas, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill opened up in an interview with Billboard the day after the 2017 CMA Awards.
"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," Mc Graw says.
"Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians," Hill adds. "It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the government and the National Rifle Association, to tell the truth. We all want a safe country."
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