Tim McGraw Under Fire for Charity Concert to Curtail Gun Violence

Singer Supports Gun Ownership but Says It Comes With a Responsibility

Tim McGraw is trying to do the right thing — a charitable thing, a good thing. And some people are outraged.

McGraw is playing a benefit concert in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 17, and the proceeds will benefit Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization with the mission of protecting children from gun violence. This, after the 2012 shooting at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six teachers were killed.

Claiming the concert promoted gun control, gun rights advocates didn’t like the idea of the charity event. So they took to social media to say so, and McGraw responded in a statement to the Washington Post.

“Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook, given much of the erroneous reporting thus far,” McGraw said. “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.”

He added that this concert is meant to do “something good for a community that is recovering.”

When the concert was first announced on Monday (April 13), McGraw said, “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. 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.”

Dean Brown, fiddle player in McGraw’s touring band, is a longtime friend to Mark Barden, a musician whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed in the 2012 tragedy.

“We are humbled that Tim would do this for us,” Barden said. “Dean and his wife Cindy helped my wife and I through our darkest hour and helped buoy our spirits. It meant more than words could ever say.”

However, Billy Currington has decided to drop out of the show that is scheduled to also feature Chase Bryant and special guests. Currington and Bryant are the opening acts on McGraw’s current tour.

In a post on his Facebook page, Currington explained his decision.

“I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues — I’m a singer,” he wrote. “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.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.