McConaughey calls for ‘real change’ on guns in emotional White House appearance
Matthew McConaughey made an impassioned plea at the White House press briefing on Tuesday for “real change” on gun violence, sharing his experience on the ground following the recent school shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
“How can the loss of these lives matter?” McConaughey asked.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed by a gunman last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
McConaughey highlighted the lives of several children who were killed in the shooting after he and his wife, Camila Alves, met with their families in the days following the May attack.
Alves sat with a pair of green Converse shoes on her lap belonging to one of the victims, Maite Rodriguez. The 10-year-old girl had drawn a heart on the shoes because it “represented her love of nature.”
McConaughey said the shoes were the “only clear evidence that could identify” Rodriguez following the massacre.
“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,” McConaughey said.
The father of three urged lawmakers to pass several measures, including requiring background checks on all gun purchases, raising the legal age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21 and instituting national waiting periods for them, in addition to implementing a national red flag system.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals,” the “Dallas Buyers Club” star exclaimed.
“As divided as our country is, this gun responsibility issue is one we agree on more than we don’t. It really is. But this should be a nonpartisan issue,” the 52-year-old performer, who last year publicly weighed a Texas gubernatorial run said, before turning his focus to Congress.
“There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters. None. But people in power have failed to act.”
Republicans and Democrats, McConaughey said, need to see “beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands.”
Lawmakers can’t “truly be leaders” if they’re “only living for reelection,” he said.
“I promise you, America: You and me, we are not as divided as we are being told we are,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said McConaughey met earlier in the day with President Biden. Following his comments, he declined to answer questions from reporters.
McConaughey’s remarks at the White House came a day after the Academy Award winner touched down on Capitol Hill to discuss the same issue with lawmakers, who are engaged in ongoing bipartisan negotiations.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a Twitter post following a talk with McConaughey that he and the actor “agree that gun safety reform is needed.”
In a Monday opinion piece published in the Austin American-Statesman, McConaughey wrote that Americans have a “cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children.”
—Updated at 4:28 p.m.