Guitarist Who Performed Prior To Las Vegas Shooting Debunks Common Pro-Gun Myth

Caleb Keeter was a proponent of the Second Amendment until the tragedy.

A guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band who witnessed the mass shooting in Las Vegas and its aftermath took to Twitter to announce a change in his stance on gun control.

Caleb Keeter, who said he had been a proponent of the Second Amendment his whole life, described the firearms band members and crew had as "useless" for self-defense. The shooter took aim at the band and innocent concertgoers from the 32nd floor of a hotel across the street.


"We couldn't touch them [the guns] for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us," he wrote. "A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power."

Keeter's post comes as the usual conversations are erupting in the wake of a mass shooting. Many on the right have said this is not a time to politicize a tragedy, while those on the left say this is exactly the time to implement polices that will prevent future tragedies. Conservative commentators like Fox News's Jesse Waters have suggested that more guns — like snipers on the roof — that could have kept people safe. Democratic politicians like Sen. Chris Murphy are once again pushing to reform gun laws across the country that increase background checks and limit access.

But Keeter is an unusual voice in the mix. It's rare that any public figure commenting on gun control explains a change of position, and Keeter seemed to try and knock down a common myth: that a good guy with a gun could have helped stop the bad guy. Although his bandmates owned guns, the "bad guy" in this case was football fields away, and much better equipped.

Per Vice, the idea that a "good guy with a gun" could stop the mass shooting doesn't exactly pan out when considered in concert with actual data. A June 21 paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that states with less gun control had more non-fatal violent crime. Additionally, less gun control didn't translate to lower homicide rates — rather, the researchers found the correlation statistically insignificant.

"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."

Keeter's message comes at an important time. This week, the House will is planning to vote on a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that will ease gun restrictions, including a package that could make it easier to purchase silencers, which critics suggest could make future mass shootings even more deadly.

One user observed on Keeter's Facebook post that "it's frustrating that some don't call the fire dept until the blaze is at their own front door." 

But Keeter responded gracefully: 

"You are all absolutely correct," he wrote. "I saw this happening for years and did nothing. But I'd like to do what I can now."


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