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Kelly Clarkson, a gun owner, urges action at Billboard Music Awards

Host Kelly Clarkson performs a medley during the opening of the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. [Chris Pizzello | Invision/AP]
Published May 21, 2018

Kelly Clarkson said she was supposed to lead a moment of silence on Sunday night as she hosted the Billboard Music Awards in the aftermath of yet another school shooting — this one at Santa Fe High School in Texas, which killed 10 people.

But she had something else in mind.

"I'm so sick of moments of silence," Clarkson said, as she fought through tears. "It's not working, like, obviously."

She continued: "So why don't we not do a moment of silence? Why don't we do a moment of action? Why don't we do a moment of change? Why don't we change what's happening? Because it's horrible."

She didn't mention exactly what action she meant, nor did she specify that she was in favor of limiting access to guns. But it was a notable statement. Clarkson is a gun owner herself and has spoken publicly about it several times. She told NPR in 2012 that she owned nine guns and that she slept with a Colt .45.

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"I live alone, so I'm not going out like that," Clarkson said at the time. "I got no chance if some man breaks into my house. So, yeah, I have a gun."

Three years later, she told People Magazine that she had a concealed handgun license as one of 25 things her fans might not know about her. Also during 2015, in a Twitter exchange with the comedian Amy Schumer, Clarkson said, "As a gun owner I feel like people should have 2 take a gun course & have background checks before they can buy 1. #logicpartyof1."

Clarkson is also a Texas native, having been born in Fort Worth, and lives outside Nashville, Tennessee. Still, Clarkson's impromptu speech may not make much difference in Texas, a conservative state where gun rights are considered sacred by many. She has not hesitated to discuss her politics in the past, having called for the legalization of marijuana and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2015.

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Billboard did not seem to have an issue with Clarkson's going off script, as it posted video of her monologue on social media. The awards show returned to the subject of school shootings when the singers Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined on stage by a choir from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 people in February.

But it was Clarkson's speech that generated the most buzz from the night.

"Mommas and daddies should be able to send their kids to school," Clarkson said. "To church. To movie theaters. To clubs. You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear. So we need to do better."

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