The frontman of the Eagles of Death Metal, the Californian rock band that was performing at the Bataclan theatre in Paris when 89 people were gunned down by so-called Islamic State terrorists last year, is arguing for universal access to firearms.
Vocalist-guitarist Jesse Hughes, 43, says he is more convinced than ever of the need to expand gun ownership. In a 19-minute interview with the French television station iTélé on Monday, the outspoken musician said: “Did your French gun control stop a single f**king person from dying at the Bataclan? And 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.
“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal,” he continued. “And I hate it that it’s that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them.
“Because I’ve never seen anyone that’s ever had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived, I don’t know.”
It has also been reported that Hughes—a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA)—told Agence France-Presse in an earlier interview: “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.”
The band are due to play at Paris’ Olympia concert hall on Tuesday night having resumed the world tour in Stockholm on Saturday that they stopped after the Paris attacks. Soldiers and armed police will be standing guard at the venue, with psychologists on hand to support traumatized fans, the Guardian reports.
Hughes told iTélé that he had felt “a sacred responsibility to finish this show”, adding in his Agence France-Presse interview that Tuesday’s gig would “be a regular rock show”.
The Nov. 13 attack on the Bataclan concert hall was part of a series of terrorist attacks — gunmen and suicide bombers struck a major stadium, restaurants and bars, almost simultaneously — that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.
French President Francois Hollande described the attacks as an “act of war” organized by the Islamic State.