The shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night that killed at least 58 people was such a life-shattering event that at least one performer said it changed his view on gun rights and the Second Amendment.
In a tweet Monday afternoon, Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, said some of the band’s crew members had firearms on the tour bus with them but realized those weapons were “useless” given the circumstances of the shooting.
“We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us,” Keeter wrote. “A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers, desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.”
The fear he felt in the moment and the inability to act was why, he said, the country needs “gun control RIGHT. NOW.”
The band played hours before the shooting, but according to a statement in Rolling Stone from Josh Abbott, the members of the band were on the concert grounds during the attack.
After a massive response, including some who shamed Keeter’s change of heart prompted by being put in danger, Keeter owned up to his feelings: “I saw this happening for years and did nothing,” he said in a reply to one Twitter user. “But I'd like to do what I can now.”
Read his full statement below.
I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life.
Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses and legal firearms on the bus.
They were useless.
We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers, desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.
Enough is enough.
Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand. These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in a close proximity of a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds.
We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.
My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.
We are unbelievably fortunate not to be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.