Gun-rights ad­vo­cates take aim at Tim McGraw

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ENTERTAINMENT -

HART­FORD, Conn. — Tim McGraw is de­fend­ing his de­ci­sion to head­line a Con­necti­cut con­cert to ben­e­fit a Sandy Hook group, re­spond­ing to crit­ics who call it a gun-con­trol fundraiser.

A con­cert at the Xfin­ity Theatre in Hart­ford, Conn., on July 17 fea­tur­ing McGraw will ben­e­fit Sandy Hook Prom­ise. The non-profit group in New­town was or­ga­nized by fam­i­lies whose chil­dren and sib­lings were among the 20 chil­dren and six ed­u­ca­tors fa­tally shot at the Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School in De­cem­ber 2012.

Its stated ob­jec­tive is to pre­vent gun vi­o­lence and fo­cus on men­tal health is­sues.

Gun-rights ad­vo­cates took to Face­book and Twit­ter, call­ing McGraw a hyp­ocrite for head­lin­ing the event. Oth­ers tweeted mes­sages of sup­port to McGraw for lend­ing his name to Sandy Hook Prom­ise.

Open­ing act Billy Cur­ring­ton with­drew and said on his Face­book page he doesn’t want to be­come in­volved in a de­bate be­tween gun rights and gun con­trol.

“I’ve never been one to take on con­tro­ver­sial is­sues — I’m a singer,” he wrote. “I do feel strongly about hon­our­ing and sup­port­ing the Sandy Hook com­mu­nity and will be mak­ing a do­na­tion to a lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

McGraw said in a state­ment to The Wash­ing­ton Post on Thurs­day there is no con­tra­dic­tion be­tween gun own­er­ship and sup­port­ing 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 said. “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.

“The con­cert is meant to do some­thing good for a com­mu­nity that is re­cov­er­ing,” McGraw said.

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