CMA Lifts Restrictions on Red Carpet Journalists Questions about ‘Gun Rights’ after Backlash

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 09: Brad Paisley performs during the 2013 CMA Music Festival on June 9, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

The Country Music Association has rescinded restrictions on the types of questions that can be asked by red-carpet journalists at this year’s CMA Awards after initially announcing this week that media would be prohibited from asking country music stars questions about the Las Vegas shooting massacre, gun rights, and politics.

The initial media guidelines for the upcoming CMA Awards had made it clear that red carpet reporters were not to ask country music singers about their position on “gun rights.” Journalists who ignored the guidelines would have their media credentials revoked.

According to Rolling Stone, other topics were off limits as well, including the October 1 Las Vegas attack and questions about country singers’ “political affiliations.”

“It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s [sic] past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great,” the CMA said in its initial issuance of the guidelines. “It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time.”

But some country music stars — including Brad Paisley, who is set to co-host this year’s show — blasted the CMA over the press restrictions.

The organization apparently reversed course Friday morning and lifted the restrictions.

Country musicians who work with NRA Country came under scrutiny after the attack on concertgoers at a Las Vegas country music festival in October, although the NRA had nothing to do with Stephen Paddock’s criminal use of firearms. And some country musicians–like Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter–began calling for gun control just hours after the horrendous crime occurred.

Breitbart News quoted Keeter tweeting:

I have been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night, I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses and legal firearms on the bus, [but] they were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear that the police might think we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.

Apart from Tim McGraw, who actively supported gun control long before the Las Vegas attack occurred, no other country artist has voiced support for restricting the Second Amendment in the way that Keeter did.


AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at