Concerts across US to highlight gun violence

NEW YORK • Musicians including Jackson Browne and Rosanne Cash will lead some 100 simultaneous concerts across the United States next month aimed at putting persistent gun violence high on the election agenda.

Concert Across America will take place on Sept 25 and encourage participants to register to vote in the Nov 8 presidential election.

Organisers said the concerts would address the "epidemic of gun violence" in the United States, where some 33,000 people die from firearms each year.

"This powerful coast-to-coast concert and organising effort will raise awareness and - very importantly - get out the vote on gun violence prevention in the November election and beyond," said Mr John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence, which is among the groups spearheading the concert.

The groups announced 100 concert sites across the US, ranging from prominent music halls to small churches, and encouraged people to set up further events.

The concerts will take place on the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, established by Congress in 2007, with activists saying the government has done little else to address the violence.

The National Rifle Association has successfully fought attempts to regulate guns following a series of mass killings including the 2012 massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and June's assault on an Orlando gay club.

While the concerts will not support individual candidates, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has vowed to fight the gun lobby and reduce access to military-style weapons.

Republican contender Donald Trump has promised to defend the right to bear arms and says he sometimes carries a gun.

More than 10 out of every 100,000 Americans die every year from guns, including in suicides, a rate far higher than in other Western countries.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Concerts across US to highlight gun violence'. Print Edition | Subscribe