(The Hill) – Matthew McConaughey made a passionate plea at Tuesday’s White House press conference for “real change” in gun violence, sharing his experiences on the ground following the recent shooting at a school in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed last month by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
McConaughey shed light on the lives of several children killed in the shooting, whom he and his wife Camila met in the days following the May attack.
“How can the loss of these lives matter?” asked McConaughey.
Camila Alves McConaughey sat in a pair of green Converse shoes on the lap of one of the victims, Maite Rodriguez. The 10-year-old girl had hand-drawn a heart on the shoes because it “represented her love for nature.”
McConaughey said the different shoes were the “only clear evidence that Rodriguez could identify” after the shooting.
“We want safe and secure schools and we want gun laws that don’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 mandating background checks on all gun purchases, raising the legal age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21, instituting national waiting periods and implement a national alarm system.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals,” said the Dallas Buyers Club star.
“As divided as our country is, we are more in agreement than not on this issue of arms liability. It is real. But this should be an impartial issue,” said the 52-year-old performer, who publicly weighed in on a Texas governor run last year.
“There is no democratic value in a single act of these gunmen, but those in power have failed.”
Republicans and Democrats, McConaughey said, should “look outside the political problem and admit that we have a problem sustaining our lives.”
Lawmakers cannot be “real leaders” if they “live only for reelection,” he said.
“I promise you, America: you and I, we’re not as divided as we’re told.”
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press officer, said McConaughey met with President Biden earlier in the day. After his comments, he declined to answer questions from reporters.
McConaughey’s comments at the White House came a day after the Academy Award winner landed on Capitol Hill to discuss the same issue with lawmakers.
sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) said in a Twitter post after speaking to McConaughey that he and the actor “agreed that gun safety reform is needed.”
In an op-ed Monday published in the Austin American-Statesman, McConaughey wrote that Americans have a “cultural obligation to take steps to delay the senseless killing of our children.”
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