Tim McGraw is facing much criticism from gun rights advocates who labeled him as a hypocrite for his participation in a Connecticut concert this summer benefiting the Sandy Hook community.
McGraw who was confirmed to play the concert on April 13 said in statement: “Out of this tragedy a group was formed that made a promise to honor the lives lost and turn it into a moment of transformation.” He added, “Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence. I want to be a part of that promise – as a father and as a friend.”
Since the announcement, gun rights advocates have labeled him as a hypocrite and took to social media to criticize his involvement.
McGraw replied to the comments in defense of his participation, noting that his participation isn’t a political statement on the issue of gun control, but rather a tribute to a community that is recovering from a tragedy.
“Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far,” McGraw told the Washington Post. “As a gun owner, I support gun ownership, I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety – most certainly when it relates to what we value most, our children. I can’t imagine anyone who disagrees with that.”
McGraw became inspired to play the fundraiser for Sandy Hook Promise, an organization dedicated to protecting children from gun violence. Inspiration to play the event came from his fiddle player, Dean Brown whose close friend, Mark Barden lost his 7-year-old son Daniel during the tragic shooting on Dec. 14 in 2012 when a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators and then turned the gun on himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In light of the controversy surrounding McGraw’s performance, opening act Billy Currington has decided to step aside from the controversy and has since dropped out of the Sandy Hook benefit concert. The news came when he took to Facebook with a message that read:
“I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues – I’m a singer. I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the Sandy Hook community and will be making a donation to a local organization. I appreciate people’s freedom and passion for whatever cause they want to support, however, I am choosing to step aside from this fundraiser and will focus instead on the rest of the tour dates as I look forward to being on the road with Tim and Chase and having a blast with all of the fans.”