Actor and Uvalde, Texas native Matthew McConaughey met with President Joe Biden on Tuesday and called for more congressional action on gun violence in a moving speech, sharing the stories of those who have been killed during the shooting at an elementary school last month.
Nineteen children and two teachers were shot dead at Robb Elementary School in McConaughey’s hometown on May 24 by an 18-year-old gunman wielding a semi-automatic rifle.
McConaughey, who publicly weighed a bid for Texas governor last year but ultimately ruled it out, briefly met Biden at the White House, according to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, then appeared at the point daily press.
The 52-year-old actor described growing up in the South Texas town.
“Uvalde is where I learned to revere the power and ability of the tool we call a gun,” he said. “Uvalde is where I learned about responsible gun ownership.”
McConaughey said responsible gun owners are ‘fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and misused by deranged individuals,’ and urged raising the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic rifle AR-15 at 21.
Gun rights advocates say the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to own and bear firearms.
McConaughey appeared to choke several times while holding up photos of some of the child victims. He talked about their families, what they wore the day they were shot, and what they wanted to be when they grew up.
The actor described meeting with a cosmetologist who was asked to prep the victims for their open-air funeral. “They needed a lot more than makeup to look presentable. They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to unusually large exit wounds from an AR-15 rifle.”
He gave a brief biography of each victim, banging his fist on the lectern at one point to describe one of them.
“As we honor and recognize the victims, we must recognize that this time it seems like something is different,” he said. “There is a feeling that there may be a viable path. The responsible parties in this debate seem at least committed to sitting down and having a real conversation about a new and improved path.”
McConaughey spoke as US Senate Democrats said they were encouraged by discussions with their Republican counterparts on gun legislation – but warned that any compromise would not meet the measures they deem necessary to combat armed violence.
McConaughey said he went to the White House to try to make that moment a reality. His comments, however, were expected to have little impact.
The actor, who met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill earlier in the day to discuss gun reform legislation, called on politicians to change their approach to their work in remarks that singled out neither side. . His comments, however, appeared to be aimed at congressional Republicans who opposed gun legislation.
“Let’s admit it,” he said. “We can’t really be leaders if we only live for re-election.”
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