Gun rights advocates have ripped apart country star Tim McGraw for headlining a benefit show for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut three years ago.
But the singer isn’t backing down and pointed out Thursday that the show is meant to protect children. McGraw — who owns a firearm himself — told the Washington Post Thursday that the media has been rife was “erroneous reporting” about his involvement.
“I support gun ownership. I also believe that (with it) 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.”
But one of McGraw’s headliners, Billy Currington, has buckled under the weight of social media controversy over the Sandy Hook Promise and bowed out, saying on Facebook, “I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues.” Evidently, Currington wasn’t aware of the show’s purpose.
A bit of background is necessary to understand the firestorm of anger — riddled here and there with some support — over this benefit. Evidently, Tim had planned a concert in Hartford all along, but that show at some point joined forces with the nonprofit and became the Sandy Hook Promise.
It would also help to understand the non-profit’s mission: to build our “in-home and community-based … prevention programs,” “raise awareness, educate and engage parents and communities on gun violence,” and “establish programs and training in the areas of mental wellness early-identification and intervention, social and emotional development and firearm safety and security.”
Though the nonprofit does not, at least explicitly, aim to take away Americans’ right to own a firearm, as soon as Tim McGraw’s connection came to light, misleading headlines splashed across the internet. Critics began calling the concert a “gun control fundraiser” and Tim a hypocrite, added NBC Connecticut. People made their anger known on social media as well.
McGraw also has a personal reason to get involved in the Sandy Hook Promise, added the Post. His fiddle player is friends with a man whose 7-year-old son was killed by Adam Lanza that day.
“Through a personal connection, I saw first-hand how the Sandy Hook tragedy affected families and I felt their pain. The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering.”
[Photo Courtesy Christopher Polk/Getty Images]