Country music star comes out in support of gun control after Las Vegas massacre: 'I cannot express how wrong I was'

This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history with at least 59 people dead and more than 500 injured 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 02 October 2017 22:02
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Musicians Austin Davis, Caleb Keeter, Josh Abbott, Preston Wait, Edward Villanueva and James Hertless of the Josh Abbott Band attend the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
Musicians Austin Davis, Caleb Keeter, Josh Abbott, Preston Wait, Edward Villanueva and James Hertless of the Josh Abbott Band attend the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

A guitarist who performed at the country music festival where the country’s deadliest shooting in history took place has reversed his position on gun control, saying “I cannot express how wrong I was."

Caleb Keeter, part of the Josh Abbott Band, took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival late on Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr Keeter’s band had performed earlier in the day on Sunday, just hours before the shooting that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 more.

Las Vegas shooting: What we know so far

“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life,” Mr Keeter wrote.

“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.”

Mr Keeter was referring to the argument guns rights advocates have normally turned to in the wake of mass shootings: if the victims were armed, they would have been able to defend themselves against the gunman.

He said that his road crew had legal firearms and certifications but were unable to access the weapons in the chaos of the scene and out of fear that first responders would mistake them for the attackers.

“We need gun control. RIGHT. NOW,” Mr Keeter’s statement read.

“My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”

The alleged shooter, Stephen Paddock, was firing from the window of his 32nd floor room at the adjacent Mandalay Hotel and Casino.

Paddock had reportedly checked into the hotel at least three days prior, when the festival began, and was found dead after police stormed the room. It is believed he shot himself.

Police found several weapons and rounds of ammunition in the room. His residence in a Mesquite, Nevada retirement community about 80 miles northeast Las Vegas also contained a stockpile of weapons and ammunition.

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