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Guitarist Caleb Keeter Reverses Stance on Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting: ‘I Cannot Express How Wrong I Was’

Caleb Keeter Josh Abbott Band
Caleb Keeter of the Josh Abbott Band performs during the ACM Party For A Cause Festival at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 17, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

Caleb Keeter was a lifelong proponent of the Second Amendment until Sunday, October 1, when a gunman opened fire at the Las Vegas festival where he had performed hours earlier with the Josh Abbott Band.

“I cannot express how wrong I was,” wrote the guitarist in a series of tweets posted Monday. Keeter explained that while members of his crew have concealed-carry permits and there were legal firearms on their bus, the weapons were useless. “We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think we were part of the massacre and shoot us,” wrote Keeter. “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. Enough is enough.”

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Fearing he wouldn’t survive the night, Keeter wrote out a living will and and said goodbye to his family and his girlfriend. “These rounds were just powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in close proximity of a victim shot by this f–king coward received shrapnel wounds,” wrote the Texas-based musician. “We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.”

Josh Abbott Band
Austin Davis, Caleb Keeter, Josh Abbott, Preston Wait, Edward Villanueva and James Hertless of the Josh Abbott Band attend the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

Keeter continued: “My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.”

His message has been retweeted nearly 55,000 times so far.

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The band’s frontman, Josh Abbott, took to Facebook on Monday to let fans know his group was safe. “I (Josh) had just left and was in the Mandalay Bay on the 20th floor with my fiancee during the shooting just a few floors away. The band & crew were on the concert grounds and saw people get shot,” wrote Abbott. “We are deeply disturbed by this horrific act of violence and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. It was a long awful night but we are blessed to be alive and healthy. Hug your loved ones night.”

At least 59 people are dead and 527 were injured after Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

For families looking to locate missing loved ones, please call 1-866-535-5654.

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