Gun advocates lash out at Tim McGraw over Sandy Hook benefit concert

Singer Tim McGraw performs during the show at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood
Singer Tim McGraw performs during the show at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES TAGS:ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW) (REUTERS)

Country music star Tim McGraw is taking heat from gun advocates after he announced this week that he’s headlining a July 17 concert in Hartford, Conn., to benefit Sandy Hook Promise, a group that seeks to protect children from gun violence.

Gun advocates took to social media after McGraw’s announcement, calling the singer a hypocrite.

Among the critics was fellow country music star Travis Tritt, who tweeted his disdain for McGraw’s concert.


The blog Bearing Arms had an article with the headline “Tim McGraw Poised to ‘Dixie Chick’ Himself With Gun Control Benefit Concert,” and noted, referencing the country music trio, that McGraw “seems poised to make a similar, potentially career-ending move.” The blog recalls comments by Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines criticizing President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War. The band, the blog notes, has never been as successful as they were prior to Maines’ comments.

Meanwhile, McGraw told The Washington Post that he supports gun ownership, but added, “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 said the concert is intended to help the community.

The Sandy Hook Promise group formed in the wake of the massacre to honor 20 children and six staff members killed. In his concert announcement, 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.”

Unlike McGraw, Billy Currington, the opening act for the July concert, succumbed to the pressure. Currington bowed out of the concert, writing on his Facebook page, “I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues — I’m a singer.” Instead, he will give a donation to a local organization.

Twenty kindergarteners and six teachers were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, when 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and went on a shooting rampage. He also killed his mother prior to the attack and committed suicide before police could stop him.

The incident is the deadliest school shooting in the United States.