A social-media firestorm has broken out over the news that superstar country musician Tim McGraw will be headlining a benefit concert for a nonprofit aimed at protecting children from gun violence. The Christian Science Monitor says the incident shows the deep divide in the national debate regarding firearms. It also raises the question of where advocates on both sides might find common ground amid what appear to be many contradictory opinions. Sandy Hook Promise, an organization named for the Newtown, Ct. school where a lone gunman killed 20 children and six educators in 2012, said McGraw would be the headlining act at a summer fundraiser in Hartford.
Gun rights advocates denounced McGraw, calling him a hypocrite for supporting what they called a “gun control fundraiser.” Others wondered whether the singer was in favor of tighter restrictions on gun ownership or simply “unaware that Sandy Hook Promise's anti-gun violence stance equates to gun control.” (Some of the organization's founders and supporters have pushed for laws and policies that regulate the carrying and ownership of firearms.) In response to the storm of criticism, musician Billy Currington pulled out of the program. The issue persisted even after McGraw denied advocating for gun control.