Update (6/7/22 2:51 p.m. ET): Matthew McConaughey was overcome with emotion as he spoke at the White House on Tuesday, June 7. During his address at the White House podium, he called for bipartisan legislation for laws that call for more responsible gun ownership. The Uvalde-native had met with some of the victims’ parents, and he tearfully spoke about what he learned about the children in the days after the tragedy.
Wow, this McConaughey speech pic.twitter.com/0CeFFdAhlw
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 7, 2022
In one of the most heart-wrenching moments, the actor pointed to a pair of green high-top Converse sneakers with a hand-drawn heart on the toe to “represent her love of nature” that his wife Camila Alves held up from the ten-year-old victim Maite Yuleana Rodriguez as he choked back tears. “These were 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. Later in his speech, Matthew spoke about the wounds that the AR-15 left on the children, requiring DNA testing to identify many of the children’s bodies.
After speaking about the victims that he’d learned about from their families, Matthew called on politicians to work across the aisle for gun legislation to try to prevent tragedies like the Texas shooting from happening again. He laid out ideas, which he laid out in an op-ed published on Monday, for legislation to try to take action. “These regulations are not a step back. They’re a step forward for a civil society and the Second Amendment,” he said. “Is this a cure-all? Hell no, but people are hurting. Families are. Parents are, and 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 non-partisan issue.”
Matthew ended his speech by giving a rousing call for politicians to meet in the middle. “We’re not as divided as we’re being told we are,” he said. “Where do we start? We start by making the right choices on the issue that is in front of us today. We start by making laws that save innocent lives and don’t infringe on our Second Amendment rights. We start right now by voting to pass policies that can keep us from having as many Columbines, Sandy Hooks, Parklands, Las Vegases, Buffalos, and Uvaldes from hear on.”
The actor ended his speech by referencing the children once again, and asked politicians to think of them when legislating. “We start by making the loss of these lives matter,” he concluded.
Original: Matthew McConaughey penned an op-ed calling for new legislation to meet in the middle of both sides of the political spectrum for the Austin-American Statesman on Monday, June 6. The Dallas Buyers Club actor wrote about the impact that these tragedies have on the families of the victims, and he proposed his plan to hopefully reduce the number of people killed by gun violence, after the deadly school shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead. “Depraved acts of violence, with guns as the weapon of choice, are ripping apart families, tearing at people’s faith, and shredding the fabric of our society,” he wrote.
While Matthew, 52, said that he felt that “law-abiding Americans” should still have their Second Amendment rights, he made an emotional call for reform. “I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children,” he said, before differentiating “between control and responsibility.”
The Oscar-winner suggested that “gun responsibility” would both preserve Second Amendment rights while also working towards preventing more heartbreaking deaths from gun violence. “[Control] is a mandate that can infringe on our right; [responsibility] is a duty that will preserve it. There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both,” he wrote.
Matthew called on elected officials to reach across the aisle to institute new policies that meet each other in the middle. “We need to make the lost lives matter. Our leaders must make bipartisan compromises on a few reasonable measures to restore responsible gun ownership in our country,” he wrote.
The actor’s suggestions included: requiring background checks, preventing people under 21 from purchasing assault rifles (unless they’re in the military), enacting a national waiting period for assault rifles, and instituting Red Flag Laws, which “empower loved ones or law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily prevent individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or accessing firearms,” as he put it.
After laying out his plan, Matthew clarified that he’s “not under the illusion that these policies will solve all of our problems,” but he did call for leaders to work together to create new gun policies. “Business as usual isn’t working. ‘That’s just how it is’ cannot be an excuse. The heinous bloodshed of innocent people cannot become bearable,” he wrote.
Since the shooting, Matthew has been seen meeting with the families of victims and paying his respects for those lost. Shortly after the tragedy, he released a statement, making similar calls for bipartisan work to “do better” after the deaths.