Last week’s school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has become personal for country star Tim McGraw. He just learned he has a connection to one of the 17 people who lost their lives when a gunman opened fire on the school on Valentine’s Day.
I learned one of the teachers who was shot in Florida at Stoneman Douglas, Scott Beigel, was a friend of one of my associates – they were camp counselors together. What an amazing man who lost his life protecting the children. That is a true hero. And I’m deeply moved by these students who are lifting their voices – challenging us to listen, learn, and make real changes. #NeverAgain
Tim shared his story in an Instagram post on Feb. 21 saying, “I learned one of the teachers who was shot in Florida at Stoneman Douglas, Scott Beigel, was a friend of one of my associates – they were camp counselors together. What an amazing man who lost his life protecting the children. That is a true hero.”
Along with that message, Tim posted a photo of the students from Stoneman Douglas protesting for changes to the gun laws in the wake of the shooting. He says of the photo, “I’m deeply moved by these students who are lifting their voices — challenging us to listen, learn and make real changes. #NeverAgain.”
Tim has long been one of the rare country superstars who takes a stand in favor of changes to the current gun laws in the wake of mass shootings. Two weeks after the October 2017 attack at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds more wounded, Tim and his wife, Faith Hill, told “Billboard,” that it’s time for “common sense” gun laws.
Tim hunts birds, so he’s not calling for all guns to be banned. He thinks assault rifles like those used in Las Vegas and, now, in Parkland, should be.
He says, “There is some common sense that’s necessary when it comes to gun control. They want to make it about the Second Amendment every time it’s brought up. It’s not about the Second Amendment.”
Tim and Faith both knew a lot of people on the ground at the Route 91 Harvest Festival since it was a country music event.
Faith said at the time, “The doctors that [treated] the wounded, they saw wounds like you’d see in war. That’s not right. Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians.”
Tim also headlined a 2015 concert in Hartford, Connecticut, to help raise funds for the Sandy Hook Promise organization, which was founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 20 children, ages six and seven, and six more adult teachers and staff. Sandy Hook Promise’s stated mission is to “promote mental wellness, combat social isolation and prevent gun violence to #ProtectOurKids.”
According to the Associated Press, Tim got involved with that concert because one of his band members had a friend who lost a child in the Sandy Hook shooting.
Several country fans criticized Tim for performing that show, saying he was playing a “gun-control fundraiser.”
Tim released a statement saying, “Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far. As a gun owner, I support gun ownership,” he said. “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. The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering,”