Artist manager Scooter Braun has called on Nashville and country musicians to stand up for common sense gun-law reform, speaking at the annual Music Biz conference on Thursday.
Braun, whose superstar clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande – the pop star whose concert in Manchester, England, was the scene of a deadly terrorist attack in May of 2017 – was being honored at the event with the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award. Afterwards, he was interviewed by CNN commentator and former Recording Industry Association of America chief Hillary Rosen when the conversation turned to gun control, and the role country artists could play in shaping public opinion.
“I know in this town a lot of artists are afraid to come out and have this conversation,” Braun said, according to a report in Variety. “My question for you is, is selling records important? Yes. But if you really want to be historic, if you want to be that artist, understand that these kids are 20 years away from being the next leaders, and they are going to change [gun laws]. It is just a matter of time. If you want to be on the right side of history, help them.”
Braun was prominently involved in the recent March for Our Lives protest organized in Washington D.C., by student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. He referred back to that tragedy, as well as the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas and the Columbine, Colorado, school shooting, which happened almost 20 years ago. Remarking that another 20 years of inaction is unacceptable, Braun stated that country artists in particular have the ear of voters who could make a difference.
Braun went on to clarify that he believes poor mental health controls are also part of the problem, but the two issues are not mutually exclusive. He then called on the Nashville country music community to take action. “This town could really make a difference,” he said.
On Friday, multiple fatalities were reported at another mass shooting, this time at a Santa Fe, Texas, school.