Country artists back away from NRA as gun-control controversy gr - WSMV News 4

Country artists back away from NRA as gun-control controversy grows

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Broadway in downtown Nashville. (Source: WSMV) Broadway in downtown Nashville. (Source: WSMV)

"This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history," said Jason Aldean, opening this weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live with words of support for the Las Vegas massacre victims and their families. 

Maren Morris dedicated the proceeds of her single "Dear Hate" to charities helping them. 

Clearly, the mass shooting is affecting the world of country music deeply. And now, when it comes to gun rights, its stars are taking sides.

"If somebody big like Florida-Georgia Line, or the big ones like Toby Kieth and Kieth Urban, if they start voicing their opinions the fans will listen," said Tall Paul, a local country musician. 

Florida-Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett used to be featured on the NRA Country website. 

Last week, their pictures and names disappeared, and spokesmen say the artists "do not have a present-day relationship with NRA."

Others are taking the opposite stance of country newcomer Jordan Mitchell, who played on a secondary stage during the Vegas festival and told reporters she doesn't think gun laws need to change following the attack. 

But will it make a difference? 

"I guess country music can change your mind," said Tall Paul moments after his performance on Broadway. "Its changed my mind, so I'm going to answer that there is a place for that regardless of what side."

Another big question: will taking a tough stance on gun control take a toll on country careers?

While some stars are speaking out, there are many keeping quiet -- offering prayers and condolences to the victims, but keeping the gun-rights controversy at a safe distance. 

"We've only got to think about what happened to the Dixie Chicks a few years ago," said Henry, a country music fan. "Their political statements landed them in quite a bit of hot water, so I guess a lot of the country music stars need to be careful. If they alienate their fans, they're not going to have many fans left."

NRA Country is a lifestyle brand designed to attract young country music fans to the NRA. News 4's Carley Gordon reached out for their reaction to losing big names in the wake of Vegas but is still waiting to hear back. 

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