Emotional Matthew McConaughey begs for sensible gun laws: 'Their loss of life matters'



Trigger warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
Actor Matthew McConaughey gave a stirring speech from the White House calling for gun control in the wake of the recent Texas school shooting. McConaughey, who's a native of Uvalde, where the shooting took place, called on Congress to pass sensible gun laws including background checks through legislation. "Make the loss of these lives matter," said McConaughey in an emotional speech from the briefing room, reported NBC News. The actor was accompanied by his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey. The "Dallas Buyers Club" actor spent much of last week talking to families affected by the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The gunman walked into the school and killed 19 children and two teachers with an AR-15-style rifle and handgun that he bought legally after turning 18.


McConaughey pointed out that the military-grade weapon left many kids unrecognizable. He got emotional as he spoke about Maite Rodriguez, a 10-year-old girl who cared deeply about the environment and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. As the actor spoke about Maite, his wife, Camila Alves, held the girl's green high-top Converse shoes. There was a heart sketched onto the converse shoe symbolizing her love of nature. "She wore these every day, green Converse, with a heart on the right toe. These are the same green Converse that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her at the shooting," said McConaughey, highlighting the destruction caused by the assault weapon.
He also recalled a conversation with a cosmetologist who was "well-versed in mortuary makeup." Their duty was the make the victims appear as peaceful and natural as possible so they could be displayed in an open casket for loved ones to bid their goodbyes. "These bodies were very different," said McConaughey. "They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them." A source confirmed the original shoes were with the family, and the ones Camila was holding were replicas to make the point.


"You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for?" said the actor. "What every parent separately express in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children's dreams to live on. That they want their children's dreams to continue, to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter," he added. The actor recalled his association with Uvalde and guns during the briefing. He said it was the place "where I was taught to revere the power and the capability of the tool that we call a gun.” He then added, "Uvalde is where I learned responsible gun ownership.” The actor met with lawmakers to urge them to act on gun control. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed he had "met briefly" with President Joe Biden "to talk about the importance of taking action keeping our communities safe."

Joe Biden called for a ban on assault weapons. "This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights. It’s about protecting children. It’s about protecting families. It’s about protecting whole communities. It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, and to a church without being shot and killed," he said in a statement. "We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. Strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws. Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence," continued the statement.

"We need responsible gun ownership," said McConaughey, who had mulled over running for governor of Texas last year. "We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for those rifles. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations," said the actor. He also hit out at those using the Second Amendment as a shield to avoid talking about implementing sensible gun laws. McConaughey said that “responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back. They’re a step forward for civil society. This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters. We got to get some real courage and honor our moral obligations," he said.

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