Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made an appearance at the White House on Tuesday to ask Congress to “get to higher ground” and pass gun control legislation in honor of the children and teachers killed in last month’s shooting at an elementary school in his hometown of Uvalde (Texas).
In a highly personal 22-minute speech, McConaughey urged a gridlocked Congress to pass gun reforms that can save lives without infringing on Second Amendment rights.
McConaughey, a gun owner, used his star power to make an argument for the legislation in a way the Biden Administration has been unable to muster, offering a clear connection to the small Texas town and vividly detailing the total loss. of the 19 children. and two female teachers in the second worst mass shooting at a school in US history.
He specifically asked Congress to strengthen background checks for the purchase of weapons and increase the minimum age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle from 18 to 21 years. “We want safe schools and we want gun laws that don’t make it easy for bad guys to get the damn guns,” McConaughey said.
The actor, who earlier this year considered running for governor of Texas, met briefly in private with the president Joe Biden before addressing the White House Press from the James Brady briefing room.
McConaughey also met with key lawmakers this week, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumerthe chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that handles gun legislation, Sen. dick durbin and the highest-ranking Republican senator Chuck Grassley.
Also on Tuesday, the son of Ruth Whitefieldan 86-year-old woman who was killed when a gunman opened fire in a racist attack on black shoppers in Buffalo, New York last month, called on Congress to act against the “cancer of white supremacy” and “The National Epidemic of Gun Violence.”
“Is there nothing you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of white supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?” Garnell Whitfield asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
McConaughey, who declined to answer questions, spoke of his own connections to the city. She said her mother taught kindergarten less than a mile from Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the site of the May 24 shooting. She also noted that Uvalde was the place where she learned about the responsibilities that come with owning weapons.“Uvalde is where I was taught to revere the power and ability of the tool we call a weapon,” he said.
McConaughey said he and his wife returned to Uvalde the day after the shooting and spent time with the families of some of the victims and others directly affected by the attack. He revealed that all of the parents he spoke with expressed that they “want their children’s dreams to live on.” “They want their loss of life to matter,” McConaughey said.
The actor recounted the personal stories of several of the victims. He told the story of Maite Rodriguez, an aspiring marine biologist. McConaughey’s wife, Camila, sat near her, holding Maite’s green Converse sneakers, which had a red heart on the right toe to represent her love of nature. “These are the same green Converse shoes, on her feet, that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting,” McConaughey said.
held drawings of Alithia Ramirez, who dreamed of attending art school in Paris. And then there was Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia, who loved dancing and church and already knew how to drive tractors. Ella Ellie was eager to read a Bible verse at an upcoming church service when she was killed.
more mental attention
McConaughey acknowledged that gun legislation would not end mass shootings, but suggested steps can be taken to lessen the chances of such tragedies occurring so frequently.
“We need to invest in mental care. We need safer schools. We need to curb sensational media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership,” McConaughey said. “Is this a cure-all? Hell no, but people are suffering.”