11 Newtown families of people killed in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre are making it known they have no affiliation with a gun control group masterminding a Tim McGraw benefit concert in Hartford, Conn. this summer.
The July 17 concert is benefiting Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy group that involves several victims’ families and is at times wrongly assumed to speak for all 26 victims’ families, the SF Chronicle reported. The group’s stated objective is to prevent gun violence nationwide and focus on mental health awareness.
In a statement issued Wednesday to The Associated Press, the 11 Newtown families said they wanted to clarify the issue for donors to the group who may believe they are directly supporting the victims’ families.
“Our decision to publicly address this matter is not related to a position regarding any of the complex issues surrounding our tragedy, as recent news reports have suggested (i.e. the gun debate, mental health, etc.),” the families said. “We wish only to provide clarification for the many generous donors that believe they are directly supporting the families at the center of this tragedy by contributing to the Sandy Hook Promise origination.”
Tim McGraw has defended his decision to perform and headline the concert at XFINITY Theatre amid criticism from gun rights advocates, saying there is no contradiction between gun ownership and supporting Sandy Hook Promise.
The opening act, Billy Currington, ended up withdrawing from the concert, writing on his Facebook account that he doesn’t want to become involved in a debate between gun rights and gun control.
“I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues — I’m a singer,” he wrote. “I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the Sandy Hook community and will be making a donation to a local organization.”
Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012. Lanza shot and killed his own mother in their home before carrying out the massacre and ultimately committing suicide.