Aaron Lewis says that more gun control legislation would not have stopped a horrific massacre like that in Las Vegas from happening.
A gunman opened fire on October 1 from thirty-second floor the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the Route 91 Harvest festival, killing fifty-eight people and wounding five hundred others. The gunman, identified by police as Mesquite, Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, later killed himself.
In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, members of Congress, including Republicans, called for legislation to restrict or prohibit "bump stocks." Paddock, who was firing from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay, had used bump stocks to accelerate the gunfire from his rifles.
The STAIND frontman, who has been a hunter as long as he's been a musician, if not longer, was asked by CBSPhilly.com for his stance on gun control, just two weeks after the Las Vegas tragedy.
"Well, there isn't a law on the books or that could have been on the books that would have stopped this horrible tragedy from happening," he responded (hear audio below). "And I am not of the belief that you punish the masses because of the few.
"Gun control is a very slippery slope, because the people that you are controlling are the law-abiding citizens that follow the laws, that buy guns legally," he continued. "These are the people that the laws apply to. The criminal would not be classified as a criminal without criminal activitity, and criminals don't buy guns legally. Criminals don't follow laws that are applied. So, really, all you're doing with more gun laws is hindering the law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves from the criminal that isn't gonna go through all the law-abiding things to get that gun.
Lewis added: "Do I think that the 'bump stock' was an overlooked thing? The bump stock… I didn't even know what the hell one was until this happened. That's how few of them were out there; it wasn't like this scourge that we had. Really, how can you blame the actions of a human being on an inanimate object that can't do anything unless it's in the hands of a person that chooses to use it with bad intentions."
Asked if he thinks bump stocks, which fit around the grip and stock of the gun, should even exist, Lewis said: "As a guy who uses it for the right reasons, when you take a fully automatic weapon off of the legal market for someone to legally obtain it by jumping through every hoop in the world to be able to get it in the first place, when you take it off the market, the only market that you put it on is the black market, which is where the criminals get their guns. It's a very slippery slope.
"When you add laws to gun control, the people that you are trying to target aren't the ones you are affecting," he continued. "Because, again, criminals don't allow themselves to go through a full FBI screening or any of the things that I have to go through as a legal citizen of Massachusetts. I have to go through a full FBI search and everything else to have my all-lawful-purposes license to carry a concealed gun. And… it is a slippery slope."
Lewis also commented on the controversy surrounding Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who took the NFL's battle over the national anthem to a new level last week when he suggested that players who are "disrespectful" to the U.S. flag shouldn't be allowed to play.
"Listen, there's a time and a place for everything, and I tend to agree with the train of thought that seems to be going around now, which is… I don't care who or what you think you are, at the end of the day it's a job, and at the end of the day your boss has every right to demand that you act accordingly," Aaron said.
"I think what's going on to the owner of the Cowboys right now is just absolutely ridiculous and it just shows how unbelievably uneducated our government has successfully sent our kids out into the world," he continued. "And notice the language — that our government has successfully sent out into the world…
"When you give a government control over your educational system, there's serious problems with that," he added.
Lewis went on to say that cultural traditions are implicitly devalued by their exclusion from the school system, which is part of the reason we're having this debate
"What happened to civics?" he said. "What happened to knowing the Constitution? What happened to that not being the document that creates this whole amazing place that we have, that everybody is supposed to follow — meaning those in charge, that have been temporarily put in charge, because it's a civil job; it's a civil-servant job. Everything is so out of whack, and we've just accepted it as normal now and we're just the big sleeping giant that's just addicted to the handouts and addicted to the social programs and we're a mess right now."
Fans who have been to his shows in the past know that Lewis opens every performance with a rendition of the The Pledge Of Allegiance. His passion for the strong tradition is something loyal concert-goers have come to expect from the country rocker.
"I've been doing that for years already," Aaron told CBSPhilly.com. "[I started doing it] because I already felt like it was something that was missing. I remember starting every school day with The Pledge Of Allegiance, and our kids don't do that anymore. Some schools still have it, but there's plenty that don't. It was just a way to bring awareness to my pride in what this country is, and it was a proper way to start the show every night, and once I started, there's no reason to stop."
Lewis told Billboard last year that he would support Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race, even though he was "disappointed" by the real estate mogul "with the bickering and the name-calling."
The STAIND frontman had been a staunch critic of President Barack Obama, telling a crowd at one of his solo concerts last year that Obama was "truly the worst fucking president that we have ever had in the history of this fucking country."