Country superstar Tim McGraw is battling back against gun rights advocates unhappy that he’s headlining an upcoming Connecticut benefit concert for Sandy Hook that’s being called by some a pro-gun control event.

According to CBS New York, the July 17 show at Hartford’s XFINITY Theatre is a benefit for the nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, organized by family members of people who were among the 20 children and six faculty killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012.

Related: Behind the Song: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s

As news of the concert spread and angry gun advocates (including country singer Travis Tritt) took to social media to decry the event, one of the show’s other featured performers, Billy Currington, bowed out of the show. At press time, featured performer Chase Bryant was still on the bill.

“I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues—I’m a singer. I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the Sandy Hook community and will be making a donation to a local organization, Currington wrote on his Facebook page. “I appreciate people’s freedom and passion for whatever cause they want to support, however, I am choosing to step aside from this fundraiser and will focus instead on the rest of the tour dates.”

McGraw, however, is standing firm in his decision to play the show, telling the Washington Post that the Sandy Hook benefit has nothing to do with gun control, and that the public has been given the wrong idea about the motivation behind the show.



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