In a blistering op-ed penned for the New York Times in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday night (Oct. 1), Rosanne Cash condemns country music’s longstanding connection to the National Rifle Association. A self-described “gun control activist,” Cash specifically calls out the National Rifle Association’s NRA Country program.

According to NRA Country's website description, the program seeks to “empower our artist friends who promote these values to encourage our next generation of leaders.” At present, major country artists such as Lee Brice, Trace Adkins, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Combs are all affiliated with the organization.

“I encourage more artists in country and American roots music to end your silence,” Cash writes. “It is no longer enough to separate yourself quietly. The laws the NRA would pass are a threat to you, your fans, and to the concerts and festivals we enjoy.”

Country Stars Respond Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting

In her op-ed, Cash also recognizes that artists who do speak out in favor of even minimal restrictions on guns could face “bullying” from gun rights advocates: “Not everyone will like you for taking a stand," she writes; however, she encourages artists to "[l]et it roll off your back."

"Some people may burn your records or ask for refunds for tickets to your concerts,” she writes. “Whatever. Find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will. Don’t let them bully you into silence. That’s where their power lies — in the silence of rational voices and in the apathy of those who can speak truth to power.”

Cash isn’t the only country artist calling for reformed gun laws in the aftermath of the shooting, during which 59 festivalgoers were killed and more than 500 were injured. In a post to his Twitter account, Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter told his fans that he was formerly a lifelong opponent of gun control, but after being at the Route 91 Harvest Festival during the shooting, he has experienced a change of heart.

At present, neither the NRA nor NRA Country has issued a response to Cash’s editorial.

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