Maren Morris Talks Gun Control: ‘We Need to Protect Ourselves and Our Children’
At the 60th annual Grammy Awards Ceremony on Sunday night (Jan. 28), Maren Morris garnered a nod in the Best Country Solo Performance category for her single "I Could Use a Love Song," and also joined Eric Church and Brothers Osborne for an emotional tribute performance of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" to honor the victims of last year's mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nev., and of May's terrorist bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Before the ceremony, Morris spoke with Rolling Stone to address an issue that, given the circumstances of that tribute, the singer couldn't help but have on her mind going into the evening: gun control.
"We need to protect ourselves and our children, and I want the country music community to get brave and talk about it," Morris tells Rolling Stone. "Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like Vegas to start that conversation, but I'm hoping it impacts positive change from now on, so we never have to see this again."
Morris, who performed at the three-day Route 91 Festival the night before the Oct. 1 shooting spree that left 58 people dead and hundreds others injured, has a track record of taking a strong stance in favor of gun control. Shortly after the shooting, she told the Kansas City Star in an interview that she hoped to see more country artists come forward in favor of stricter gun legislation.
"This isn't about politicizing a tragedy," she says. "It's about waking up when something this horrific goes down and we say, 'How do we prevent this from ever happening again?' And that starts with the gun conversation."
The singer acknowledges that gun control is a polarizing issue among the country music community and its fan base. The majority of country musicians steer clear of the issue, though an increasing number are speaking out in support of changes in gun legislation. Following the Las Vegas shooting, Rosanne Cash wrote that "the NRA funds domestic terrorism" in a New York Times op-ed, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill publicly took a stance in favor of stricter gun laws in the Tennesean, and Margo Price advocated for more legislation surrounding who can purchase a firearm, even as a gun owner herself.
During Morris' tribute performance with Church and the Brothers Osborne, TJ Osborne wore a white rose on his lapel in support of the #TimesUp movement. The four singers gave a stripped-down acoustic performance against a backdrop of tiles featuring the shooting victims' names, written by hand.
The four performers did not directly speak out against gun violence in their pre-song remarks, instead focusing on honoring those who died in the shooting and bombing as well as expressing hope that music can provide some comfort for those who lost loved ones: "Eric, the Brothers Osborne and I, who all performed in Las Vegas that tragic weekend, wanted to come together and honor the memory of the beautiful, music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us," Morris said onstage.
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