It’s clear Tim McGraw wanted to do a good thing by announcing a performance in support of Sandy Hook Promise, an organization devoted to helping protect children from gun violence after the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. However, his announcement has gone from good intentions to a messy war with fans.
After announcing the show, which is affiliated with his current Shotgun Rider tour, featuring opening acts Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, things went haywire. Now, before you say it, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t it a little awkwardly ironic that the title of the tour hits a little too close to home?
Well, yes, but to be fair, McGraw’s tour name is in reference to sitting in a front passenger seat of a vehicle as opposed to an actual firearm. Much of the controversy started when gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, tweeted a message about McGraw and Currington’s support for a “gun control fundraiser.”
After hearing all the commotion, McGraw released his own take on the issue, admitting he sees both sides of the controversy, but his intent for the show came from a personal place of concern.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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. The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering.”
As for his personal connection with the story, the singer is speaking about his fiddle player, Dean Brown, who is a longtime friend of Mark Barden, the father of a 7-year-old killed during the shootings.
Even though all proceeds from the show will benefit the nonprofit organization, it still was a tough issue for Currington, who backed out of the concert, as well as McGraw’s fan base. As expected, they took to the Twitterverse to give him a piece of their mind for even supporting the gun control movement, and it wasn’t pretty.
@TheTimMcGraw I used 2 really like U. But now, seeing as how UR about to go grabbing for my guns, I hope UR career follows the DIXIE CHICKS
— J.F. Fleming, Author/Carpenter (@Frank0_Tank0) April 17, 2015