Tim McGraw criticized by gun rights advocates over Sandy Hook concert

Tim McGraw under fire for Sandy Hook benefit concert


Tim McGraw defended his decision to headline a a concert to benefit a Sandy Hook group after gun advocate groups called the event a "gun control fundraiser."

"Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far," McGraw told FOX411 in a statement. "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."

Fellow country singer Billy Currington withdrew from the Connecticut show because he's "never been one to take on controversial issues."

I've never been one to take on controversial issues - I'm a singer. I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the...

Posted by Billy Currington on Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gun rights advocates took to Facebook and Twitter, calling McGraw a hypocrite for appearing in the event that will benefit Sandy Hook Promise, which seeks to protect children from gun violence.

However, others were supportive of the singer:

McGraw become involved with the organization through his fiddle player Dean Brown, who is close friends with the group's advocacy director Mark Barden who lost his son in the shooting.

"Through a personal connection, I saw first-hand how the Sandy Hook tragedy affected families and I felt their pain," McGraw added. "The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering."

The "Shotgun Rider" singer's set to perform at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Conn., on July 17.

In December 2012, 20 first-graders and six educators were fatally shot in Newtown.

FOX411's Sasha Bogursky and the Associated Press contributed to this report.