Country star Jason Aldean doesn't think it's suitable for musicians to publicly weigh in on America's gun-control debate, despite surviving the Las Vegas shooting massacre.
The Burnin' It Down hitmaker was onstage at the outdoor Route 91 Harvest music festival on 1 October (17) when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the audience, killing 58 people and injuring over 500 more.
Aldean, his then-pregnant wife Brittany Kerr, and his crewmembers were able to escape the chaos physically unharmed, and while the incident has prompted a number of Jason's country peers to call for tighter gun laws, he believes it's "not (his) place" to use his position to lobby for changes in legislation, whatever the cause.
"I'm not a politician," he tells Entertainment Weekly. "I'm not trying to push my own agenda. If I say that I believe this, I'm gonna p**s off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I'm gonna p**s off the other half. I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know?"
Jason acknowledges something needs to change to prevent similar attacks from happening in future, but he's convinced it's up to authorities to solve the issue themselves, without celebrity lobbying.
"I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer," he says. "When people can't go to a d**n movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there's a flaw in the system."
However, the new father-of-three does have some thoughts on what could be contributing to the gun violence issue: "I'm not a pro (but) I think part of the issue is kids at home playing virtual reality games where they're shooting people all day," Jason shares. "They sit down for hours and hours, and that starts to become actual reality. Get out and throw a ball, you know what I'm saying? I think that's part of the problem, but I don't know."
Aldean is currently promoting his upcoming album, Rearview Town, which he has dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Sin City tragedy, and reveals he is considering a recently-launched campaign by two of the festival-goers to have the singer finish the set he started on that fateful night upon his return to Vegas next month (Apr18) for the Academy of Country Music Awards.
"It's not as easy as snapping your fingers and saying, 'OK, we'll be there next week,'" Jason mused at a recent press conference. "It's a little bit of a process. We're talking about it - I can say that. We've had the discussion.
"I completely understand where they're coming from, and I appreciate the gesture. I appreciate that they want us to come back and finish the show, and that they want to come see it."