Matthew McConaughey Draws Tears With Impassioned White House Speech About Uvalde

Actor Matthew McConaughey gave an emotional speech at a White House press conference on the issue of gun violence and mass shootings in the country. The native Texan, who himself owns guns and was born in Uvalde—the site of the most recent school massacre—urged Congress to pass common-sense gun control legislation that has been so effective in other nations at curbing the horrific shooting problem in the U.S.

“This should not be a partisan issue,” he said. “There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters, but people in power have failed to act.”

McConaughey pointed out that the majority of responsible gun owners are in favor of measures that are sorely lacking on a federal level, such as red flag laws and legislation that closes the notorious gun show loophole. He stressed that now is the time to drop the partisanship and politics around the issue pushed by the gun lobby, particularly the NRA, and those he called “deranged individuals.”

“These regulations are not a step back, they’re a step forward for a civil society and for the Second Amendment,” he said.

To stress his point during the 21-minute speech, the actor spoke about the 19 children who were murdered by the shooter and his AR-style rifle, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future and the things that were important to them. As he spoke on 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, who drew a heart on one of her shoes to represent her love of nature, his voice became shaky and emotional, perhaps even bitter.

“These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting,” he said, emphasizing his point by pounding his fist on the podium.

Many of the victims of the Uvalde shooting could not easily be identified because the semiautomatic rifle used by the killer does so much extreme damage to the body that their deaths couldn’t be confirmed without a DNA test.

Democrats have long pushed for the kind of gun control legislation that McConaughey has asked for, but not hard enough to overcome Republican obstructionism as their leadership bows to the NRA at every opportunity. The actor did not call out Republicans specifically, instead opting for talking about partisanship without addressing anyone in particular, though it’s clear who the problem is in this case.

“Can both sides rise above?” he asked. “Can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand, and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands? We’ve got a chance right now to reach for, and to grasp, a higher ground, above our political affiliations.”

“We need responsible gun ownership. 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.”

Democrats have pushed for all of those measures while Republicans have widely refused to entertain the idea of anything that affects people’s access to guns. Instead, they have called for turning schools into terrifying fortresses with only one entrance and exit (despite the massive fire hazard) and giving kids bulletproof blankets. They also call for more funding for mental health care every time, while cutting that funding at every opportunity.

McConaughey says he spent the past week meeting with the victims’ families, learning about the children who were killed and listening to the grief of their loved ones, along with his wife Camila. He stressed that a common theme among them is a desire to make the loss of their beloved children mean something, hoping it could be a spark to protect children in the future rather than just another senseless gun massacre in the United States.

“How can the loss of these lives matter?” he said. “While we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time, it seems that something is different. There is the sense that perhaps there is a viable path forward.”


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