Matthew McConaughey makes strong case for gun reform at the White House
Washington DC – Matthew McConaughey delivered an impassioned speech in the White House briefing room Tuesday, calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the deadly school shooting last month in his hometown in Texas.
After meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, McConaughey (52) stepped to the podium and conveyed a range of emotions: anger, sadness, and hope that elected officials might finally act to tighten the nation’s gun laws.
"How can we make the loss of those lives matter?" he asked at the outset of his remarks, suggesting that change might be possible in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
"We are in a window of opportunity right now that we have not been in before," he said. "A window where it seems like real change, real change can happen."
McConaughey spoke about how he and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey (40), drove to his hometown of Uvalde in the days after the shooting, describing his interactions with the loved ones of several victims.
Choking up, the actor held up a laminated drawing by Alithia Ramirez, whose parents told him she wanted to be an artist. McConaughey then slammed the podium after showing the green Converse of another victim, Maite Rodriguez, and explained that the shoes were what allowed her family to identify her body.
"Every parent separately expressed in their own way that they want their children’s dreams to live on," he said.
"They want their children to continue to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter."
McConaughey calls for "reasonable, practical regulations"
McConaughey, who recalled learning about firearm safety as a child in Uvalde with an air-pellet rifle, called for "responsible gun ownership," suggesting that there is a broad, bipartisan majority supportive of expanding background checks, raising the minimum age for purchasing assault rifles to 21, and enacting red flag laws.
"These are reasonable, practical regulations," he said. "Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individual."
Without explicitly calling out Republicans, who for years have blocked Democratic efforts to enact gun restrictions, McConaughey said the issue should not be a partisan one and implored lawmakers in both parties to act.
"We can’t truly be leaders," he said, "if we’re only living for reelection."
After McConaughey left the briefing room without taking questions, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House is "encouraged" with how the talks are progressing.
President Biden met Tuesday with Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat and one of the four-person bipartisan group working to hammer out a compromise on gun safety, Jean-Pierre said.
"We’re going to see how those negotiations go," she said, stating that Biden "believes any step is a step forward."
Cover photo: Collage: Win McNamee / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP