Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey gave a speech at the White House yesterday demanding action regarding gun control in the country and the 19 victims of the school shooting in Uvalde.
Being his hometown, the actor has been adamant on social media and in the press about the latest mass shooting in Texas, one of the deadliest in the state’s history, and has been vocal about the urgency to find solutions to stop this from repeating.
After posting a statement on Twitter and writing an article talking about what needs to change in American politics regarding gun ownership, he gave an emotional speech at the White House. Days prior he had visited Uvalde and talked with the families of the victims and the survivors of the tragedy.
He urged lawmakers to “reach a higher ground”, bringing background checks for anyone purchasing a gun and raising the legal age to purchase an AR-15 rifle, the weapon used by the 18-year-old shooter to kill 19 children and two teachers. He proposed the legal age be changed to 21.
“These bodies were very different… They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them.”
He also stated that he is a firm believer in the Second Amendment, and that gun regulations will only strengthen it and encourage responsible gun ownership. He pleaded with politicians to leave aside their political parties and their feuds, and to remember that what happened in Uvalde is way beyond political or religious beliefs: something needs to be done, and gun regulation has to be a part of it.
Another part of his proposal is to not end things with changing laws about gun regulation. Better mental health coverage is much needed, as well as ensuring safer schools for Americans. “We need to invest in mental healthcare. We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership”.
The speech was rife with emotion. He talked about the victims who lost their lives: children with big dreams, with families and friends who loved them, who aspired to build a future for them they would be proud of. He showed pictures and shared aspects of the personalities of the 19 girls and boys.
He was invited by President Biden to deliver a speech at a time when he is pressuring Congress to pass laws regarding gun regulation, something to be proven extremely hard and unlikely to happen. McConaughey is a well-known actor, Uvalde native, and not exactly a die-hard Democrat, so he is using his position to continue the conversation in the hopes that more politicians will give in.
At the moment Congress doesn’t seem to have any plans to change any laws or implement regulations. There has been talk about strengthening the mental health support budget and talk of red flag laws in more states, but it is clear to many that more drastic measures need to be taken to ensure mass school shootings stop being such an American tradition.