See American Authors Discuss Imprisoned Family, Mass Shootings - Rolling Stone
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See American Authors Discuss Imprisoned Brothers, Mass Shootings

Bandmates Matt Sanchez, James Shelley advocate for stricter guns laws in Vevo’s “Why I Vote” series

Rock band American Authors‘ James Shelley and Matt Sanchez talk about growing up in two traditionally pro-gun states – Florida and Texas, respectively – for Vevo’s “Why I Vote” series. While both Shelley and Sanchez grew up around guns, they are ardent supporters of stricter gun laws in the United States. “It’s unbelievable we still live like this,” said Shelley about the growing frequency of mass shootings in the United States.

But both bandmates have deeply personal reasons for caring about stricter gun laws, as both have brothers who are serving jail time for gun-related arrests that might have been avoided if background checks were in place. “The first time you pick up a gun, I don’t think you realize the immense power you have in your hand,” Sanchez said about the first time he held a gun at age eight. His bandmate Shelley said, similarly, the first time he went to a gun show was at age 18 and remarked that when his brother bought the gun that he was eventually arrested with, no one asked any questions. “If it was way harder to get guns, my little brother might not be in jail right now,” Shelley says. Sanchez, whose brother is also serving jail time for a gun-related charge, felt the same. 

After reading the Second Amendment aloud, Sanchez notes that the type of rights the Founding Fathers advocated for when creating the Constitution no longer make sense today, given advances in technology that have made guns more portable and powerful than the muskets of the American Revolution. “Our Second Amendment was written in such a different time, and I think it’s our job to reinterpret that,” he said. 

Vevo’s “Why I Vote” campaign showcases the issues that motivate popular artists to vote. Previous installments include Kesha speaking about LGBT rights, T.I. speaking about incarceration and Vic Mensa on the failure of the war on drugs.


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