By Amanda Wicks
Almost 200 musicians have come together to sign an open letter requesting Congress take action about gun control. The letter, spearheaded by Billboard and Everytown for Gun Safety (a movement to end gun violence), cites the mass shooting in Orlando as well as the death of Christina Grimmie hours before as reasons why music spaces are no longer safe. And they want the government to do something about it.
“Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls,” the letter states. “But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country.”
It continues, “The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.”
The signees request that Congress instill two measures to restrict how guns are sold and purchased: 1) Require a background check on all gun sales, and 2) Block suspected terrorists from being able to purchase a weapon.
Joan Jett was the first to sign the letter with Lady Gaga following suit shortly after. As of now, the signatures range across all ages and genres. Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Britney Spears, Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, Kid Cudi, L.A. Reid, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Dixie Chick’s Natalie Maines, Questlove, Sara Bareilles, Tony Bennett and many more have all added their signatures to the letter.
The letter comes at a key time. Yesterday (June 22), Democrats took over the House floor by staging a sit-in, stating they wouldn’t leave until Congress voted on stricter gun control. Their protest began at noon and didn’t end until 3:00 a.m. Thursday (June 23) morning, when House Speaker Paul Ryan adjourned the session after forcing through a vote on a major spending bill, according to The New York Times.