Country music headliner Tim McGraw has announced that he will be staging a concert in Hartford, Connecticut this July as a benefit for the group Sandy Hook Promise.
The concert is scheduled for July 17 2015, and is billed as featuring McGraw, along with Billy Currington (who has now announced that he won’t be participating) and Chase Bryant, as well as some “surprise guests.” Fans will no doubt be hoping the “surprise” will include McGraw’s wife, country music superstar Faith Hill.
All proceeds from the concert will go directly to benefit Sandy Hook Promise and their various programs.
In a statement McGraw said, “Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence. I want to be a part of that promise – as a father and as a friend.”
A personal connection appears to be the spark that brought McGraw to the organization. One of McGraw’s band members, fiddle player Dean Brown, has friends in Newtown who lost a son in the Sandy Hook tragedy.
So what’s the problem? Why would it be controversial for a country music star to do a benefit concert to assist the activities of the grieving families of Sandy Hook?
The problem is that, even though Sandy Hook Promise goes to a lot of trouble trying to paint themselves as something other than a gun control group, that’s exactly what they are.
Reviewing their website, there is little mention of gun control. They talk about broader issues like recognizing the signs of depression and mental illness, alienation, and anti-social actions. They talk about safe storage of firearms, and the education of children and gun owners about the dangers guns can pose. They talk about a lot of things that I, and just about anyone, would consider worthwhile and productive. But they talk about all of these things within a context of “reducing gun violence,” which, as I pointed out in this column just last week, is a bit of verbal sleight-of-hand, intentionally used to distort public perception.
I won’t deny that Sandy Hook Promise has several good programs doing good work. Nonetheless, despite the organization’s claims that they want to focus on violence, not guns, and that they want to enact “gun safety” legislation that does not infringe on Second Amendment rights, their actions say something else. They actively lobby for expanding restrictions on gun owners, and brag about their accomplishments toward doing so in Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois – all states that have recently passed restrictions on responsible gun owners. They stand strongly in support of legislation to criminalize private firearms transfers and create a federal registry of guns and gun owners. They are also closely allied with anti-rights groups like the Brady Campaign, and Mike Bloomberg’s groups, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. In the same breath, leaders of Sandy Hook Promise claim that they want to take the focus off of guns and put it on the underlying problems that make guns dangerous, while supporting their positions with distorted and exaggerated statistics from anti-rights propaganda.
In all of this, for all of their talk about wanting to enhance gun safety and avoid infringing on Second Amendment rights, the group avoids proven gun safety programs and groups that have helped to consistently reduce unintentional firearm deaths and injuries for decades. They embrace the Bradys and Bloombergs, with their false “gun control = gun safety” claims, while recoiling from the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation (which is headquartered in Newtown), and firearm safety programs from 4H, the Boy Scouts, and local gun clubs.
By making “gun violence” the centerpiece of their work, instead of “school violence,” “youth violence,” “mental health support,” Sandy Hook Promise closes doors, blocks natural alliances, and alienates millions of concerned gun owners who would gladly support their programs.
By focusing on the tools disturbed people use, rather than the people committing the act, Sandy Hook Promise creates division and discord, making something as laudable as a country music star putting on a charity concert a controversial issue.
I understand the need to answer grief with action, especially when the grief is sudden, shocking, and totally unexpected. On Easter Sunday, just days before his first birthday, my grandson was involved in an accident involving a horse-cart. Thanks to the selfless acts of his mother, he was virtually unharmed, but she did not survive. Violent head trauma caused her brain to shut down, and doctors couldn’t save her.
The helplessness and emptiness that follows such personal tragedies compel us to do something. My something was to initiate a college fund for Jaimy’s boys. The idea of restricting horse-carts, or campaigning for horse-cart helmet laws never occurred to me, and would have been immediately dismissed if it had. Education about risks and dangers would be reasonable, and for that, I would turn to equestrian organizations for assistance, not a group that wants to eliminate all domestic animals like PETA.
I have no doubt that Tim McGraw’s heart is in the right place, just as I have no doubt about the motivations of the people behind Sandy Hook Promise, but despite their words to the contrary, Sandy Hook Promise has proven to be an active gun control organization, and anyone who supports them is attacking our Second Amendment rights.
That cannot be left unchallenged. Tim McGraw needs to hear it from his friends and fans.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org