Jason Aldean, the singer who was on stage when the Las Vegas shooter opened fire, gave a tribute on “Saturday Night Live,” but never mentioned the need for better gun control. (Photo: ScreenCap)

Jason Aldean, who was performing when the Las Vegas shooter opened fire, gave a moving tribute to the victims on “Saturday Night Live,” but never mentioned the nation’s failure to protect its citizens with reasonable gun controls.

The National Rifle Association issued a statement in the wake of the shooting saying preventing “law abiding” citizens from owning guns is not the answer.

But every gun owner is law abiding until he, or she, pulls the trigger. The Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, had no criminal record or history of violence or mental illness.

Yet, in a devastating attack on fans at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Vegas Strip, he killed 58 people and wounded almost 500 others.

He poured thousands of rounds into the crowd, estimated at 20,000, from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel about a quarter mile away.

He couldn’t have accomplished his grisly massacre without access to assault-rifles, large magazines and a device known as a “bump stock.” The latter makes it possible to fire a semi-automatic rifle continuously like a machine gun.

If there was ever an argument against the sale of military assault rifles to the public, the Vegas shooter was an open and shut case.


But like every other mass shooting, right-wing conservatives, GOP lawmakers and Fox News talking heads, decried any discussion of the role assault weapons played in the shooting.

Their refrain was familiar. Now is not the time to talk about gun control. But as President Reagan once said, if not now, when?

Aldean experienced the fear of being targeted in a mass shooting. He was filmed running off stage when the shooting started. He never even bothered to warn fans or urge them to take cover.

Given that experience, you would think he would go out of his way to call for a reasonable national debate about gun control. But he never said a word.

Among other things, the shooting revealed a little publicized connection between the NRA and country music.

The gun group lists more than three dozen country artists on its web site, including well-known names like Trace Adkins, Craig Campbell, Craig Morgan, Luke Combs, Hank Williams Jr. and Jon Pardi.

It’s great for Aldean to honor the shooting victims on a national stage so soon after the shooting. But his silence on gun control is devastating.

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