Nobody can accuse Brantley Gilbert of being anti-gun rights, but in a recent article about country music’s relationship with gun culture, the singer reveals the surprising reason he refuses to officially partner with NRA Country.
Gilbert is one of country music’s loudest voices when it comes to gun ownership and the importance of supporting the Second Amendment. He even has a massive, all-encompassing back tattoo of the Second Amendment, featuring two large pistols aimed downward, followed by the text of the amendment.
Despite his avid support of gun rights, Gilbert tells Rolling Stone Country that he has deliberately refrained from partnering with NRA Country, which is the specific country music outreach arm of the National Rifle Association, throughout his career, though he has played one concert for the organization. In an article titled Inside Country Music’s Uneasy Relationship With Gun Control, Gilbert states that he wants to remain his own man when it comes to these kinds of issues.
“I don’t want to draw the line from myself to any other organization to blur the lines with what my moral compass is,” he stated, adding, “I’m not quite on-board with everything that some people represent, so I do like to stand alone for that reason.”
The national debate over gun control has been reignited in the wake of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 more, as well as a deadly mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Gilbert has spoken onstage before about the importance of the rights to bear arms, and the Georgia native tells RSC that his views on the topic are colored by his upbringing.
“I think it’s important for people to know that, hey, I’m not just riding around with more guns than I know what to do with waiting for something to pop off,” he cautioned. “It is strictly for my safety and the safety of my family. I would like to think that if they’re applauding that content or that rhetoric, I would venture to say that it’s a culturally-based response. They were raised similar and told, hey, if someone comes to harm you or your family, you do what you must to protect yourself and your family.”
Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Chely Wright, Cam, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are among the artists who have publicly expressed their support for common sense gun control measures, and Will Hoge went a step further, attacking the NRA and do-nothing politicians in an angry song titled “Thoughts & Prayers.”