After watching in horror as the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history unfolded Sunday night, the guitarist for a country music band that had performed earlier in the night said the massacre completely changed his views on gun control.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night,” Caleb Keeter, guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, wrote on Twitter Monday. “I cannot express how wrong I was.”
The shooting — which took place at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada — left at least 59 people dead and 527 wounded as of Monday night, according to authorities. Police said the gunman was a 64-year-old Nevada man named Stephen Paddock, who had shot at 22,000 concert-goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel.
The Josh Abbott Band had performed hours earlier, according to Rolling Stone, but some members of the band were still at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting began.
Keeter wrote on Twitter that any guns that those in his crew or others might have had would have been “useless” to defend them from the attack at the festival.
“We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us,” Keeter wrote.
“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW,” he wrote. “My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”
During the shooting, Josh Abbott, the lead singer of the band, had already returned to his hotel room on the 20th floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel — just floors below the shooter.
He wrote on Facebook that while his band was safe, they were “deeply disturbed” by the events of the “long awful night.”
That message didn’t go as far as Keeter’s in calling for more restrictions on gun access. And when the Washington Post reached out to the band’s publicist about Keeter’s gun control statement, the publicist declined to comment further.
Keeter also posted a message saying that he and his band won’t be intimidated by the shooting.