Matthew McConaughey appeared at the White House Press Briefing Room on Tuesday, where he delivered an impassioned plea for Congressional leaders to pass new bipartisan gun legislation in response to the recent wave of mass shootings in the US, including in the actor’s own hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
McConaughey began his remarks by sharing personal anecdotes about the nineteen students and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School on May 24th. He and his wife, Camila Aves, traveled to Uvalde the day after the shooting and met with the families of the victims.
In one particularly striking moment, Camila held a pair of green Converse shoes belonging to one of the victims, Maite Rodriguez. The nine-year-old girl had drawn a heart on the shoes because it “represented her love of nature,” McConaughey explained. Following the shooting, the shoes were the “only clear evidence that could identify” Rodriguez’s body.
McConaughey also relayed his conversation with a cosmetologist who worked with the town’s mortuary. “[The bodies] needed much more than makeup to be presentable. They needed extensive restoration,” McConaughey said. “Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converses could identify them. Many children were left not only dead, but hollow.”
The actor proceeded to reiterate his call for “gun responsibility” and the “reasonable, practical, tactical regulations” that he first outlined in an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman on Monday.
“Invest in mental health care, safer schools, restrain sensationalized media cover, restore family values, restore American values, and we need responsible gun ownership,” McConaughey said. “We need background checks, we need to raise the minimum age to purchase an A-15. We need a waiting period, red flag laws, and consequences for those who abuse them. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations — to our nations, states, communities, schools, and homes.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by a some deranged individuals,” McConaughey added. “These regulations are not a step back, they’re a step forward for a civil society and the Second Amendment. Is this a cure all? Hell no. But people are hurting, families are, parents are. As divided as our country is, this gun responsibility issue is one we agree on more than we don’t. This should be a non-partisan 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.”
“We have a life preservation problem on our hands,” he proclaimed before calling on Americans across the political aisle to “take a sober, humble, and honest look in the mirror and… rebrand ourselves based on what we truly value. We have to get some real courage, and honor our immortal obligations instead of our party affiliations… We can’t truly be leaders if we’re only living for re-election.”
Watch McConaughey’s full remarks below. As emotional and, at times, devastating as McConaughey’s remarks were, it didn’t stop one reporter from asking the actor whether he was “grandstanding.”
A reporter yells to Matthew McConaughey after he finishes his speech “were you grandstanding just now, sir?” pic.twitter.com/7TWfPBl2bN
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 7, 2022