McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, calls for ‘responsible’ gun ownership after mass shootings at the city’s primary school.
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has appeared at the White House to call on Congress to “reach the next level” and pass gun control legislation honoring the children and teachers killed in the shooting at an elementary school in his home last month. hometown of Uvalde in Texas.
In a highly personal 22-minute speech on Tuesday, McConaughey used his star power to vigorously advocate for legislation, vividly describing the loss of 19 children and two teachers in the second-worst school shooting in United States history. States describes.
McConaughey, a gun owner himself, called on Congress to strengthen background checks for gun purchases and raise the minimum age for buying an AR-15-style rifle from 18 to 21.
“We want safe and secure schools and we want gun laws that don’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get those damn guns,” McConaughey said.
The actor, who was considering running for Texas governor earlier this year before changing his mind, briefly met in private with President Joe Biden before addressing the White House press.
McConaughey also met with key lawmakers this week, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun laws, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, and leading Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
McConaughey, who declined to answer questions, spoke of his own connections to the city. He said his mother was teaching preschoolers less than a mile from Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, the site of the May 24 shooting. He also noted that Uvalde was where he was taught about the responsibilities associated with gun ownership.
“In Uvalde, I learned to revere the power and power of the tool we call a gun,” he said.
‘People are in pain’
McConaughey said he and his wife drove back to Uvalde the day after the shooting and spent time with the families of some of the victims and others directly affected by the disaster.
He said every parent he spoke to expressed that “they want their children’s dreams to live on”.
“They want their loss of life to matter,” McConaughey said.
He told the personal stories of a number of victims.
He told the story of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, an aspiring marine biologist. McConaughey’s wife, Camila, sitting nearby, was holding Maite’s green Converse shoes, which had a red heart on the right toe to represent her love of nature.
“This is the same green Converse, at her feet, that turned out to be the only solid piece of evidence identifying her after the shooting,” McConaughey said in a cracking voice.
He held up works of art by Alithia Ramirez, who dreamed of going to art school in Paris. And then there was Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia, who loved dancing and church and already knew how to drive tractors. Ellie was looking forward to reading a Bible verse at an upcoming church service when she was murdered.
McConaughey acknowledged that gun laws would not end mass shootings, but suggested steps could be taken to reduce the likelihood of such tragedies happening so frequently.
“We need to invest in mental health. We need safe schools. We need to curb sensational media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership,” McConaughey said.
“Is this a miracle cure? Hell no, but people are in pain.”