Matthew McConaughey meets Biden and passionately advocates gun reform during White House press conference

After meeting with President Joe Biden, Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, a resident of Uvalde, Texas, held a passionate plea for gun reform during Tuesday’s White House press conference as Congress considers new legislation this week.

McConaughey, who noted that he was a gun owner, gave touching details about his encounters with grieving families in his hometown last week.

“The common thread – regardless of the anger and the confusion and the sadness – was the same. How can these families continue to honor these deaths by keeping the dreams of these children and teachers alive? How can we make the loss of these lives matter? ” he began. “While we honor and recognize the victims, we have to recognize that this time it seems like something is different.”

Actor Matthew McConaughey speaks with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press conference at the White House, June 7, 2022, in Washington.

Evan Vucci/AP

“Can both sides look beyond the political problem and admit that we have a problem with preserving our lives?” he continued. “We need to look in the mirror soberly, humbly and honestly and rename ourselves based on what we truly value.”

His wife, Camila Alves, who was nearby, brought bright green Converse sneakers from Maite Rodriguez, one of the victims of the Robb elementary school massacre, which McConaughey said she wore because of her love of nature and because she was marine. wanted to be a biologist. † He spoke of how the little shoes — with a heart on the right toe — were the “only clear evidence that could identify her.”

“These bodies were very different,” he said of the 19 children and two teachers who were murdered. “They needed extensive restoration. Why? Because of the exceptionally large exit wounds from an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them.”

“Many children were left not only dead, but also hollow,” he added.

PHOTO: Camila Alves McConaughey, wife of actor Matthew McConaughey, holds a pair of shoes worn by one of the victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, during the daily news conference at the White House on June 7, 2022 in Washington, DC .

Camila Alves McConaughey, wife of actor Matthew McConaughey, holds a pair of shoes worn by one of the victims of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, during the daily press conference at the White House on June 7, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

McConaughey said the purpose of their trip to Washington was to meet with lawmakers and “remind and inspire them that the American people will continue to work on the mission of keeping our children safe — because it’s more than our right to to do that, it’s our responsibility to do that.”

He met with numerous lawmakers on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday as he pushed for reform — including universal background checks, raising the minimum age to buy an AR-15-style weapon from 18 to 21, and instituting a waiting period to force to buy weapons — measures beyond what would be in a Senate compromise.

“These are reasonable practical tactical prescriptions for our nation, states, community, schools and homes. Responsible gun owners are tired of the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals,” he added at the White House. “These rules are not a step back. They are a step forward for civil society and — and the Second Amendment.”

McConaughey also spoke at length about growing up in Uvalde, where he said he “learned responsible gun ownership”.

“It’s where my mom taught kindergarten — less than a mile from Robb Elementary. In Uvalde, I learned to master a Daisy BB pistol…it took me two years to graduate to a 410 shotgun,” he added. to. “In Uvalde I learned to revere the strength and power of the tool we call a pistol.”

PHOTO: Matthew McConaughey becomes emotional as he holds up a photo of a young Uvalde school shooting victim as he speaks to reporters about mass shootings in the United States during a press conference at the White House, June 7, 2022.

Actor Matthew McConaughey, native of Uvalde, Texas, father and gun owner, gets emotional when he holds up a photo of a young victim of the Uvalde school shooting as he speaks to reporters about mass shootings in the United States during a press conference in the United States. White House in Washington, June 7, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Hollywood actor returned to Capitol Hill for the second day in a row on Tuesday to meet with lawmakers as a spate of mass shootings across the country sparked calls for change.

“Let’s admit, we can’t be true leaders if we just live for reelection,” he added during the White House briefing.

ABC News’ Lalee Ibssa asked McConaughey when he left a meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy if he’s hopeful his talks will lead to change, after McConaughey also met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Tuesday.

“I have infinite hope,” he replied.

PHOTOGRAPH: Matthew McConaughey in Los Angeles, December 12, 2021.

Matthew McConaughey in Los Angeles, December 12, 2021.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images, FILE

In another meeting with Texas Senator John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator on gun reform talks in the Senate, McConaughey, when asked by ABC News’ Trish Turner what his message was for his senator in his home state, he simply said: ” That will be between me and him now.”

Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who learned Tuesday during a Senate hearing on domestic terrorism from the son of the oldest victim of the Buffalo, New York mass shooting, tweeted a photo of his office meeting with McConaughey.

“We, like so many others, agree that gun security reform is needed – I will continue to work to make that possible,” Durbin wrote Monday evening.

McConaughey visited his hometown of Uvalde just days after the mass shooting, after first posting his response on social media, calling for action.

“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we are on, we all know we can do better,” he wrote on May 25, a day after the massacre. “Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others have gone through.”

McConaughey also wrote an op-ed in the Austin-American Statesman last month with the headline, “It’s time to act against gun responsibility.”

He wrote in support of universal background checks, raising the age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21, implementing more red flag laws, and instituting a national waiting period for assault rifles.

Last year, McConaughey flirted with running for Texas governor before announcing in November that “political leadership” was a “path I am not choosing right now.”

Lalee Ibssa and Carson Blackwelder of ABC News contributed to this report.

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