One of the biggest stars of country music has fired up advocates on both sides of the gun control issue. Tim McGraw is being accused by gun rights advocates of turning his back on the Constitution, while he also appears to have gained some fans on the other side of the issue.
McGraw stepped into the controversy by agreeing to perform a concert July 17 in Hartford, Conn., to benefit Sandy Hook Promise, a group that works to protect children from gun violence. The group formed after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 first-graders and six educators died.
The AP reports that gun rights advocates took to social media to call McGraw a hypocrite for appearing at what they’re calling a “gun control fundraiser.”
The scheduled opening act, Billy Currington, pulled out of the event, saying he wanted to avoid controversy.
McGraw released a statement to Fox411 saying: “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.”
McGraw also said: “”The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering.”
Currington put out his own statement on the event, saying in part: “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.”
A sampling of social media comments posted on the Fox411 site includes this one: “Sad that you’ve chosen to turn your back on American Rights. Please take off that hat.”
And on the other side of the issue: “Thank you @TheTimMcGraw! What you’re doing is awesome! I’m not a country fan, but def a fan of yours now!!”