UPDATED 12:44 p.m. EST — Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo met with members of the rock band Eagles of Death Metal before they were scheduled to perform at the Olympia concert hall in Paris Tuesday evening. The concert was set to mark the band's return to the French capital following a terror attack during their November 2015 show that left 89 dead and many more wounded. Hidalgo thanked the group for returning in a photo posted to her verified Twitter account.
Le groupe Eagles of Death Metal est de retour à Paris. Merci à eux. pic.twitter.com/3lbIayuFXP
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) February 16, 2016
A member of the band that was playing in a Paris concert hall when three terrorists opened fire, killing scores of people in a November 2015 attack, said that if audience members had been allowed to be armed, they may have been able to stop some of the carnage that left 89 people dead at the venue. Ahead of the band's first concert in Paris since the massacre, slated for Tuesday night, Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes spoke about the loopholes in gun control and the need for people to defend themselves.
"Gun control has nothing to do with this. Did gun control stop these attacks? No," Hughes told French news station iTele, adding: "I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms."
Hughes is an outspoken supporter of armed self-defense and a member of the National Rifle Association. "Until no one has guns, everyone must have one," he told iTele.
Hughes' group, Eagles of Death Metal — which is not a death metal band — was playing a set in Paris when shots rang out late last year. Three terrorists who had pledged allegiance to the terror organization known as the Islamic State group stormed the concert hall, killing 89. Simultaneous attacks took place across the city in cafes, bars, restaurants and a sports arena, and the Bataclan concert hall was the location with by far the most fatalities. The total death toll was 130.
After a brief break, the band — all of whom survived the attack — continued its European tour, determined to finish what it had started. Hughes gave several emotional interviews to French news outlets upon his return to Paris ahead of a show at L’Olympia concert hall, around two miles from the Bataclan.
Many survivors are expected to attend the event Tuesday, and Carole Damiani, a Paris psychologist who has been working with victims of the attacks, warned the concert could trigger flashbacks for many people. Damiani said, “No one should kid themselves that this concert is going to cure them and put everything right,” Agence France-Presse reported.