On the eve of his band’s return to the Parisian stage three months after 89 people were killed in a horrifying terrorist assault on one of their shows, Eagles Of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes is blaming the French government’s strict gun-control laws for the carnage at the Bataclan. Speaking to the French TV station iTélé, Hughes, still visibly emotional, called Eagles Of Death Metal’s determination to complete their concert tour a “sacred duty,” and that he plans on meeting some of the Bataclan victims while he is in Paris, although he understands why some of them might not be able to come to tonight’s gig at the Olympia Concert Hall. “I just don’t want to let anyone down,” he said.
More controversially, Hughes—who has been outspoken about his pro-gun ownership stance in the past, and was even the subject of a documentary on his religious and conservative political views—when asked if the attacks had changed his views, said that he felt France’s gun control laws actually made the situation worse:
Gun control kind of doesn’t have anything to do with it, but if you want to bring it up I’ll ask you: did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it. Because I don’t think so. I think the only think that stopped it is some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.
I think the only way my mind has been changed is maybe until nobody has guns, everybody has to have them. Because I don’t want to see anything like this ever happen again. And I want everyone to have the best chance to live. And I saw people die that maybe could have lived. But this doesn’t have anything to do with politics or gun control or anything like that. This has to do with rock ‘n’ roll.
Music communities around the world have rallied around Hughes and his bandmates in the wake of the attacks. Following a suggestion made by the band’s co-founder, Josh Homme, in a November interview, dozens of artists—including Florence + The Machine, Jimmy Eat World, Imagine Dragons, My Morning Jacket, and Nada Surf—have recorded covers of the Eagles Of Death Metal Song “I Love You All The Time,” with proceeds from the recordings going to victims of the attacks.