The best ideas come not from a polarized, antagonistic view of the world, but from a willingness to compromise our beliefs. Country music icon Tim McGraw recently learned that this willingness comes at a price, suffering considerable backlash for committing to play a Sandy Hook benefit concert this summer.

 

McGraw, along with fellow country singer Chase Bryant, announced last week that he would take part in a concert benefiting the Sandy Hook Promise foundation. Dedicated to empowering communities and protecting children against gun violence, the organization was founded after the horrific 2012 elementary school shooting that left 28 dead.

 

As a gun owner himself, some from the gun rights camp have labelled McGraw a hypocrite for taking part in a benefit that seemingly aims to take firearms away from Americans. In a recent interview, he explained that these claims represent “erroneous reporting” of the concert’s true purpose, clarifying that the benefit — and organization as a whole — seek to draw attention towards issues of mental health and responsible gun ownership. The Washington Post quoted him:

“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.”

 

Gun control statistics

The United States ranks higher than any other western country for incidents of gun related deaths (cfr.org)

Gun violence has become a major societal epidemic in the United States. So far in 2015, the Gun Violence Archive has recorded at least 13,000 firearm related incidents throughout the country, and we aren’t even halfway through the year. Of these incidents, gun violence involving children under the age of 18 — combined with accidental shootings — nearly quadruple instances of shootings in self-defense.

 

Something needs to be done about gun culture in this country; even if we choose not to give up our guns, we must treat them with an unprecedented weight and respect.

 

Hope remains that McGraw’s messages of responsibility will resonate with people on both sides of the gun-control debate. Our society has proven time and time again that we require baby-steps towards any sort of progress on these issues. One can only hope that we can stave off another tragedy like Sandy Hook and start to make a change sooner rather than later.

 

What are your thoughts on gun control? Do you think Tim McGraw is justified in his decision? Comment below or tweet @connerws to keep the conversation going!