Over 200 musicians and industry power players have aligned to take on the powerful gun lobby by signing an open letter to Congress demanding changes in America's gun laws.
The letter, published in Billboard, expresses outrage at the string of mass shootings that have shaken America, including the recent killing of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Signers include some of the biggest names in music and entertainment, including Cher, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Nick Jonas, Sia, Zayn Malik and dozens of others.
Written under the heading, "Stop Gun Violence Now," the letter demands change, alluding to recent killings in music-related venues such as Pulse and the Bataclan theatre in Paris, where terrorists stormed a concert by Eagles of Death Metal, killing 130 people.
"Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls," reads the letter. "But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country."
The letter blames the ease with which Americans can buy guns as the cause of this carnage, and calls on Congress to prevent future incidents by requiring background checks for every gun sale, and blocking suspected terrorists from buying guns.
The plea comes at a key moment for gun control efforts. On Wednesday, House Democrats led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia held a sit-in on the floor of the chamber, demanding that the House vote on gun control legislation.
The protest was marked by a noon declaration from Rep. Katy D. Castor (D-Fla.): "We will not leave the floor of this House until this Congress takes action!" The sit-in lasted well into early Thursday morning.
Then the music world chimed in. "Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us—to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk."
In addition to those mentioned above, other signers include Barbra Streisand, Beck, Britney Spears, Questlove, Pusha T, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez, Trent Reznor, Kesha and Katy Perry.
Notably, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the list is thin on country musicians. Other than the Dixie Chicks, who long ago alienated country music's conservative base with their outspoken opposition to the Iraq war, few of Nashville's most successful artists seemed willing to tackle the hot-button issue.