Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard recently partnered with TOMS to support the brand's founder Blake Mycoskie's End Gun Violence Together campaign, which supports universal background checks.
Speaking to Rolling Stone Country, Hubbard explained the reasoning behind his decision, sharing that the country music community's recent encounters with gun violence have inspired him to speak out.
“We’ve been given a platform and a voice for a reason, and it’s really time to start using that voice for more than just talking about our music and ourselves,” he said. “Whether it’s at a country bar or a country concert, every artist in our genre has been affected by gun violence directly or indirectly, and it’s something that really hits close to home and something that everybody wants to talk about, but doesn’t really know how to. But there’s no better time than now.”
“We’ve seen it firsthand,” he added. “Our fans and artists are getting shot.”
In October 2017, 58 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, and in November, 12 were killed when a shooter targeted Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, which was hosting its college country night at the time.
Hubbard also credited his wife, Hayley, and daughter, Olivia, as catalysts for his decision.
“Before, I’d like to think that I was probably a hard-a— who could dodge a bullet, which is not true,” he said. “Now that I’ve got a wife and kids and family, I really start to think about things from a different perspective and I really want to start trying to make a change.”
In addition to his statement, Hubbard also called on other country artists including his bandmate, Brian Kelley, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan, to join the campaign with him.
TOMS' campaign is seeking to achieve universal background checks by encouraging lawmakers to pass legislation that would strengthen the federal government’s ability to run background checks on all citizens purchasing firearms in the United States.
“You’d have to be hard-pressed to find somebody that thinks there shouldn’t be background checks,” Hubbard said. “It’s not really as confrontational or controversial as one may think.”
Hubbard's initial message was a social media post the singer shared last week in which he noted the number of mass shootings that have taken place in the United States so far this year.
"I just saw a statistic that said there were 307 mass shootings in the last 311 days in our country, which is terrifying and devastating," he began, adding that as a "proud gun owner" himself, he, and many of his fans, take that "right" and "privilege" seriously.
"I think we can all come together and all agree that something has to change," Hubbard continued. "It's unacceptable — we shouldn't have to walk out of the house and live in fear anymore. Let's come together as a country, let's do our part."
To get involved in TOMS' campaign, fans can go to TOMS.com to send a postcard to legislators. In addition to Hubbard, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild have all expressed their support for the initiative.
Photo Credit: Getty / Mindy Small