HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Good times were already rolling outside Hartford’s Xfinity Theater hours before Tim McGraw took the stage.
“Oh yeah, love the music, everybody’s just here to have a good time,” said Melissa Baril of Meriden.
The country superstar and his Shotgun Ride Tour made their way to Hartford Friday night, but beyond the good music and good times, McGraw’s Hartford stop was more meaningful. He pledged to donated 100-percent of the net proceed’s to the anti-gun violence group Sandy Hook Promise.
“I think it’s a great idea that he’s coming out to make money and donate it to a really good cause,” said George Fiore of Springfield, Mass. “It’s good.”
But not everyone agrees that it’s for a good cause. Gun rights groups like the Connecticut Citizens Defense League came out strongly against the donation, saying that the Sandy Hook Promise group is pushing for stricter gun control laws.
“Our mission was to make sure that Tim knew that the true nature of the Sandy Hook Promise is about extremist gun control at every level, and we have accomplished that mission,” the Connecticut Citizens Defense League said in a statement.
McGraw himself responded to the criticism’s by releasing his own statement, defending his donation while also reinforcing his support for Second Amendment rights.
“As a gun owner, I support gun ownership. I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety,” he said.
“The people that come here are here to support Tim,” said Cassidy Rottino of Waterbury. “They’re his fans, you know.”
“It’s Tim’s decision, and I feel whatever he wants to do with his money, it’s his money,” said Dakota Bouve of Orange.
Billy Currington was scheduled as an opening act, but canceled after the controversy erupted.