Tim McGraw Defends Sandy Hook Benefit Performance
Tim McGraw is set to appear at a benefit for the non-profit group Sandy Hook Promise and, despite controversy over his performance, he's defending his choice to support the organization.
McGraw was set to headline the July 17 event with Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, when conservative website Breitbart.com posted a story online with the headline "Country Singers Tim McGraw, Billy Currington Headlining Gun Control Fundraiser." Currington has since dropped out of the event, but McGraw has close ties to the group -- his fiddle player, Dean Brown, is a friend of Mark Barden, a fellow musician who lost a child in the Sandy Hook disaster -- and he's standing his ground.
“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,” McGraw says. “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.”
Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit founded by those who lost loved ones in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The organization's website says that its mission is to “protect children from gun violence so no other parent experiences the loss of their child by engaging and empowering parents and communities with targeted prevention programs in the areas of mental wellness early-identification and intervention, social and emotional development and firearm safety and security.”
Breitbart.com slams the non-profit in its post, saying “Sandy Hook Promise is a vehicle through which various relatives of Sandy Hook victims have joined to push gun control until it passes. Newtown father Mark Bearden [sic] joined the group pledging to ‘dedicate the rest of his life’ to pursuing gun control,” which prompted social media backlash toward the performers.
According to the Washington Post, the concert was originally scheduled as a tour stop on McGraw's Shotgun Rider Tour, with Currington and Bryant on board as openers. McGraw issued a statement to the Post solidifying his position on gun rights and his support for Sandy Hook Promise.
“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,” he says. “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," he adds. "The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering.”
Currington posted a tweet, which was later deleted, saying that he did not originally realize the tour date had become a benefit show. He announced on his Facebook page that he will be dropping out of the performance.
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