An emotional Matthew McConaughey took to the White House briefing room on Tuesday to plead for stronger gun laws in the wake of the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
The veteran actor became emotional as he held up artwork and photos of children slain by the 18-year-old gunman and described the severity of wounds inflicted by the AR-15-style rifle used in that massacre.
“Make these lives matter,” he said. As a photo of a young girl’s green converse shoes appeared on screens facing reporters, he explained that her child’s distinctive footwear was the only way her body could be identified.
Mr McConnaughey also told reporters about meeting a cosmetologist who’d been working on making victims’ bodies ready for viewing at funeral services.
He said she’d told him and his wife that the bodies from the Uvalde shooting “were very different” because they “needed much more than makeup to be presentable”.
“They needed extensive restoration. why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds, an AR 15 rifle,” he said, adding that the child victims “were left not only dead but hollow” by the high-powered rounds.
The veteran actor said the parents he and his wife met in Uvalde wanted their children’s “dreams to live on”, and noted that every person they met there wanted “gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns”.
He called on Congress to “lead with humility and acknowledge … values that are above politics” by passing laws to make it harder for teenagers to obtain high-powered rifles.
“We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR 15 rifle to 21 We need a waiting period for those rifles. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them,” he said. “These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations.”
Mr McConnaughey, a gun owner himself, said “responsible gun owners” have become “fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals”.
“These regulations are not a step back,” he said. “They’re step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment”.
I have added that passing such legislation should be “a nonpartisan issue”.
“We got a chance right now to reach for and to grasp a higher ground above our political affiliations — a chance to make a choice that does more than protect your party,” he said. “Choose to make a choice that protects our country now and for the next generation. We got to take a sober, humble and honest look in the mirror, and rebrand ourselves based on what we truly value”.
Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two adults in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24
On the morning of the attack, Ramos sent a direct message to an individual on a Facebook platform reading: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
Local police have since come under fire for their handling of the active shooter scene, allowing Ramos to shoot his victims for over 45 minutes before finally being shot dead by a border patrol officer at the scene.