Matthew McConaughey recounts his visit to Uvalde after a mass shooting
Originally from Uvalde, Texas, Matthew McConaughey visited President Joe Biden and joined the White House briefing to recount his return to his hometown.
Ariana Triggs, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey demanded that lawmakers overcome political differences and pass gun reform measures in a powerful and impassioned speech during Tuesday’s White House press briefing.
“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue…but the people in power haven’t acted,” McConaughey said. “Can both sides rise above? Can both sides see beyond of the current political problem and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands?
McConaughey and his wife, Camila, have spent much of the past week in his hometown meeting with the families of the 19 children and two teachers who were massacred in the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School.
“Children were left not just dead, but empty”
Having gained access to the White House press room podium after meeting President Joe Biden, an emotional McConaughey spoke for more than 20 minutes, at times choking back tears and slamming his hand on the lectern while sharing heartbreaking details on some of the victims.
He spoke of 10-year-old Alithia Ramirez’s passion for art while holding one of her drawings, and shared 9-year-old Maite Rodriguez’s dream of one day being a marine biologist.
After her death, Rodriguez’s body was identifiable only by her favorite shoes she wore every day — bright green Converses with a heart on her right toe, McConaughey said. Camila held these shoes, showing the room and the cameras as he spoke.
“The children were left not just dead, but hollow,” McConaughey said, describing the horrific injuries inflicted by the shooter’s AR-15 rifle. “How does the loss of these lives matter? As we honor and recognize the victims, we must recognize that this time (it) seems like something is different.
After: Matthew McConaughey: It’s time to act on gun liability
Matthew McConaughey calls for universal background checks and more gun reform measures
This week, McConaughey met with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to push for meaningful gun reform legislation.
In an opinion piece published in the American-Statesman on Monday, and again at the White House on Tuesday, McConaughey called for universal background checks, raising the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, and demanding a mandatory waiting period to purchase assault weapons.
He has also backed “red flag” laws, which allow judges to temporarily remove guns from those deemed a danger to themselves and others.
“Responsible gun owners are tired of the Second Amendment being abused and misused by deranged individuals,” said McConaughey, a gun owner himself. “These regulations are not a step backwards. This is a step forward for civil society.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday morning on gun violence in which they will hear from several witnesses, including a fourth-grade student who survived the Uvalde shooting and two parents of one from Texas victims.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, is leading negotiations with Senate Republicans on gun reform measures.
According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden is optimistic about making progress.
“We haven’t seen this type of negotiations or this type of rapprochement on the two sides for a very long time. It’s been decades. He is therefore encouraged,” said Jean-Pierre, adding that the president is ready to approve the reforms that cross the narrowly divided Senate, even if they do not include all of his objectives.
“He thinks every step is a step forward,” Jean-Pierre said.