For Eric Church, the year he left his 30s was rough. "Forty sucked," he said of his birthday last spring, which was followed by a life-threatening blood clot in his chest, emergency surgery to get rid of it, and then, a few months later, the massacre in Las Vegas at a three-day musical event he was headlining (he performed two nights before the shooting). It's that final event Church focuses on in his new interview in Rolling Stone, in which the country singer says he felt guilt for being the "bait" for fans who ended up getting killed. "It wrecked me in a lot of ways," he says, adding: "It got dark in me for a while." Much of his anger on the shooting, however, is reserved for one group in particular.
"There are some things we can't stop," says Church, who notes he's a "Second Amendment guy" who believes in gun-control reforms such as expanded background checks, getting rid of gun show loopholes, and banning bump stocks. "Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad's shotgun and walks into a high school." But he says the Vegas shooter should not have been able to amass such an arsenal. "I blame the lobbyists," Church says. "And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA." Church, who calls the right to bear arms "non-negotiable" in America, adds that he saw a video from a Vegas cop's vest cam on the night of the shooting and couldn't believe what he was seeing. "I don't think our forefathers ever thought the right to bear arms was that," he says. More from Church here, including thoughts on Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. (Read more celebrity interview stories.)