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McConaughey speaks out against gun violence; calls for common-sense changes to honor Second Amendment

The actor spoke at the White House on Tuesday, delivers an impassioned speech about the need for tighter regulations.

Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey previously said he wasn't ready for a run at political office in Texas, but that was before 19 children and two teachers died in the massacre at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School.

During an impassioned, sometimes furious, speech at Tuesday's White House press briefing, McConaughey challenged leaders across the country to develop gun regulations that could prevent another mass shooting.

Returning to a theme, he pitched in an editorial for the Austin American-Statesman; McConaughey said he believes in the Second Amendment, yet tempered by responsible gun ownership.

"We need to restore our American Values and we need responsible gun ownership," McConaughey said. "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."


During a 15-minute speech, McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde and spent part of his youth there, tearfully directed his early speech to the victims.

He singled out the story of Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10, who wore green high- top Converse basketball shoes with a heart, and who wanted to be a marine biologist. McConaughey noted that Rodriguez had already decided she wanted to go to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi because it was near the ocean.

"Maite wore green high-top Converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe, because they represented their love of nature," McConaughey said before asking his wife, Camilla, to show the shoes to the media. "She wore these every day. Green Converse with a heart on the right toe."

With his voice wavering, McConaughey continued: "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."

At that point, McConaughey pounded his fist on the lectern, saying, "how about that?"

See @Acyn's post on Twitter.

Actor Matthew McConaughey's wife, Camilla, holds a pair of green Converse high tops worn by Maite Rodriguez, one of the children killed in the Uvalde elementary school shooting on May 24. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

He continued his eulogy and recognition of the others lost at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School on May 24. The day after the shooting, McConaughey and his family traveled to Uvalde to mourn the victims and meet with the families.

The actor directed fury at the high-velocity impact of the AR-15 rounds that struck 37 people that day. He told the story of a mortuary cosmetologist who had the job of rebuilding faces and bodies for open-casket funerals.

"These bodies were different," he said. "They needed extensive restoration. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that DNA tests or green converse could identify them."

But then McConaughey discussed taking action in the wake of the shooting. Wearing a dark blazer with a Texas-shaped pin emblazoned with the state's Lone Star flag, McConaughey drilled down into specifics, including excoriating political inaction.

"These are reasonable, practicable, tactical regulations to our nation, state, communities, schools and homes," he said. "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 are a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment.

"Look, is this a cure-all? Hell no. But people are hurting. Families are, parents are. Look, as divided as our country is, this gun responsibility issue is one that we agree on more than we don't.

"This should be a nonpartisan issue. This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters. But people in power have failed to act. So, we're asking you. I'm asking you to please ask yourselves: can both sides rise above? 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 grasp a higher ground above our political affiliations. A chance to make a choice that does more than protect your party. A chance that protects our country now and for the next generation.

Matthew McConaughey holds a photo of Alithia Ramirez, a 10 year old student who was killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, while speaking during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2022. McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas, has been meeting with Senators to discuss gun control reform following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

"We've got to take a sober, humble and honest look in the mirror and rebrand ourselves based on what we truly value. What we truly value. We've got to get some real courage and honor our immortal obligations instead of our party affiliations. Enough with the counter-punching. Enough with the invalidation of the other side. Let's come to the common table that represents the American people, find a middle ground — the place where most of us Americans live anyway, especially on this issue."

McConaughey, of course, acknowledged his own belief in the Second Amendment, noting he learned to handle a gun as a boy in Uvalde. However, he said things need to change — something that Texans have agreed with in years past.

Polling data continually suggests that Texans are uncomfortable with the rollback of gun restrictions, including the state's adoption of "Constitutional Carry."

How this plays out is anyone's guess, but McConaughey's remarks sparked an intense reaction on social media.

See @pammcgugan's post on Twitter.

See @CecilLamb's post on Twitter.

See @xWroth's post on Twitter.

See @SeanBrathwaite9's post on Twitter.


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