Matthew McConaughey called for new gun regulations today while giving an emotional speech at the White House. The Oscar-winning actor urged federal lawmakers to honor their moral obligations instead of party affiliations, following last month’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas, CNBC is reporting.
During his 20-minute speech, McConaughey emotionally recalled his recent travel to Uvalde, where he and his wife, Camila Alves, met with the families of the victims who were shot to death on May 24. The Dallas Buyers Club star and model also met with local law enforcement and morticians who were responsible for preparing some of the bodies of the school-aged children who lost their lives during the shooting.
During his speech, McConaughey also reflected on the time he spent living in Uvalde when he was younger. He said he learned what it means to be a responsible gun owner and to revere the Second Amendment in his hometown. The actor also shared that “We heard from so many people: Families of the deceased, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, Texas Rangers, hunters, border patrol and responsible gun owners who won’t give up their Second Amendment rights,” he actor.”They all said, ‘We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns.’
“You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for? What every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children’s dreams to live on. They want to make their loss of life matter,” McConaughey also noted during his speech.
The actor also specifically asked U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to raise the minimum age people can purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21. He also urged the lawmakers to instate stricter background checks and red flag provisions, and implement a waiting period for purchasing AR-15s.
McConaughey’s speech at the White House came after he wrote an op-ed in the The Austin American-Statesman, which is titled “It’s Time to Act on Gun Responsibility.” In the op-ed, he asked Congress to accept the difference between gun control and responsibility in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
“I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children,” the actor wrote. “There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility,” McConaughey continued. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”
The actor also told reporters on Capitol Hill today that he hopes he’s making progress in his meetings with lawmakers. He briefly met with President Joe Biden before giving his speech to discuss the measures. He also spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Negotiations in Congress on a bipartisan gun reform deal are ongoing. It’s not yet clear whether Democrats and Republicans will come to an agreement on a package that would limit gun rights.