HARTFORD, CT (CelebrityAccess) — Gun rights advocates took country performer Tim McGraw to task for his headlining slot at a concert in Connecticut to benefit a Sandy Hook nonprofit.
The July 17 at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut, featuring McGraw, is intended to benfit Sandy Hook Promise, a group organized by the families of the 20 children and six educators who were killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, 2012. The group's stated goal is to raise public awareness of mental health issues and prevent gun violence.
Since McGraw was announced as a headliner, gun rights groups have taken to social media to called McGraw a hypocrite for supporting the event.
“Tim McGraw Poised to Dixie Chick Himself With Gun Control Benefit Concert," read a headline from a post by Bob Owens at the gun rights blog Bearing Arms. In the post, Owens called McGraw 'anti-gun' and saidt he was betraying his fan base by performing at the concert.
Responding to the criticism, McGraw wrote:
“Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far. 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.
"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.”
Country artist Billy Currington, who has been opening for McGraw's current tour, backed out of the concert in the face of the criticism, writing:
"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." – Staff Writers