In the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas, singer-songwriter and gun control advocate Rosanne Cash has penned a powerful op-ed piece in the New York Times in which she encourages fellow country and Americana artists to stand up to the political lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association. In her words, Cash asserts that by swaying influential votes in Congress to loosen gun restrictions "the NRA funds domestic terrorism."
Having spoken out for stricter gun laws for the past two decades, Cash says her actions each time generate what she calls "a new profusion of threats," including those who level the charge she calls "the garden-variety 'your dad would be ashamed of you' sexist nonsense, along with the much more menacing threats to my family and personal safety."
She writes: "Last year, I performed at the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence with Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Marc Cohn and the Harlem Gospel Choir, and we got death threats," she writes. "People wanted to kill us because we wanted to end gun violence. That's where we are:
Taking the NRA to task specifically for their NRA Country public-relations campaign, which, according to the official NRA Country website "is powered by pride, love of country, respect for the military and our responsibility to protect our great American lifestyle," Cash argues that the "wholesome public relations veneer masks something deeply sinister and profoundly destructive. There is no other way to say this: The NRA funds domestic terrorism."
She continues: "The people who write gun regulations are the very people who profit from gun sales. The NRA would like to keep it that way." Noting the current laws preventing the procurement of military-style weapons by mentally ill citizens are "laughable by the standards of any civilized society," Cash says a vote going to the floor of the House of Representatives this week would loosen restrictions on gun silencers and armor-piercing bullets.
"If the proposed law had passed before the mass shooting in
Urging fellow artists to end their silence on the issue, she concludes by writing, "I know you'll be bullied for speaking out. This is how they operate. Not everyone will like you for taking a stand. Let it roll off your back."
In October 2016, one day after a gunman on the campus of
In August, Cash and the Cash family released a statement saying they were "sickened" by a video that showed a "self-proclaimed neo-Nazi" in Charlottesville, Virginia, wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt. "To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you."