After living through a deadly terrorist massacre at the Bataclan theater in Paris, France where 90 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured, Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes’ opinion on gun rights has not changed.
Hughes, a politically-conservative, Donald Trump supporting National Rifle Association member, responded emotionally to a question about gun control posed during a Monday television interview on the French network iTélé.
“Gun control kind of doesn’t have anything to do with it, but if you want to bring it up, I’ll ask you,” he said to reporter Laurence Ferrari, “Did your French gun control stop a single f***ing person from dying at the Bataclan? If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”
“Maybe, I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal,” Hughes added, fighting back tears, “And I hate it that it’s that way. I think the only way my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them, because I don’t ever want to see anything like this ever happen again, and I want everyone to have the best chance to live, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived. I don’t know, but I wish I knew for sure if they could have had a better chance, because there were some real angels, real wonderful people in that show that aren’t alive today, and I really wish they were.”
The Guardian notes that Hughes also told Agence France-Presse, “I don’t go anywhere in America without a gun anymore. That sucks. And I’m not paranoid. I’m not a cowboy… but I want to be prepared.”
Eagles of Death Metal is set for a defiant return to Paris on Tuesday for the band’s first concert in the city since the coordinated November 13 terror attacks. The concert will take place at the Olympia and will feature additional security. The band invited surviving victims of the previous attack at the Bataclan to attend the show, and psychologists and psychiatrists will be on hand to help those individuals if the need arises.
According to The New York Times, Hughes told the French cable channel Canal+, “[Tuesday’s] Paris [concert] isn’t just a show. It is not a rock show; it is a lot bigger than that. It has a much bigger purpose than just entertaining this time around.”
Survivors’ groups say the concert is an opportunity for some victims to heal and move past the event.
Hughes, who emphasized that he is “pro-freedom,” told iTélé, “I’m not a hero, but I love my friends. And I was raised that you have to be willing to give your life, or else it is not worth living, and you are not a member of a community. I’m not a hero, but if I had had a gun I could have changed something, and I would have been willing to do it.”