Texas school shooting: Uvalde-born actor Matthew McConaughey calls for more gun control in White House speech

Actor Matthew McConaughey took centre stage at the White House to call on Congress to “reach a higher ground” and pass gun control legislation in honour of those killed in last month’s shooting rampage at a school in his home town of Uvalde, Texas.

In a highly personal 22-minute speech, McConaughey offered a full-throated exhortation for a gridlocked Congress to pass gun reforms that can save lives without infringing on Second Amendment rights.

McConaughey argued for legislation offering a clear connection to the small Texas town and offering vivid detail on the sheer loss of the 19 children and two teachers in the second worst mass school shooting in US history.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He went through a brief biography of each victim, at one point slamming his fist on the lectern.

Read More

Read More
Texas school shooting: 19 children and two adults killed after gunman enters Rob...

“We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns,” McConaughey said.

"These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations. These regulations are not a step back, they are a step forward for a civil society and for the Second Amendment."

The actor added: “We have got to take a sober, honest and humble look in the mirror.

Actor Matthew McConaughey holds an image of Alithia Ramirez, 10, who was killed in the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, as he speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"We have got to get some real courage and honour our immortal obligations - instead of our party affiliations.

"Enough of the counter-punching, enough of the invalidation of the other side. Let's find a middle ground - the place where most of us Americans live anyway - especially on this issue.

"Maybe set an example for our children give us reason to tell them...these are great American leaders right here I hope you grow up to be like them.

"We can't truly be leaders if we are only living for re-election."

US actor Matthew McConaughey holds a photo of Alithia Ramirez, a 10 year old student who was killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, while speaking during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2022. Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI via Getty)

McConaughey, who earlier this year considered a run for governor in Texas before taking a pass, met briefly with President Joe Biden before addressing the White House press corps from the James Brady briefing room.

McConaughey, who declined to take questions, spoke of learning to become a responsible gun owner as a youngster in Uvalde.

He said he and his wife drove back to Uvalde on the day after the shooting and spent time with the families of some of the victims and others directly impacted by the rampage.

He said every parent he spoke to expressed that “they want their children’s dreams to live on”.

“They want to make their loss of life matter,” McConaughey said.

He related the personal stories of a number of the victims, displaying the artwork of one girl and the trademark green tennis shoes worn by another.

McConaughey acknowledged that gun legislation would not end mass shootings but suggested that steps can be taken to lessen the chances of such tragedies happening so frequently.

“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,” McConaughey said.

“Is this a cure all? Hell no, but people are hurting.”

He added: "Uvalde is where I was taught to revere the power and the capability of the tool that we call a gun. Uvalde is where I learned responsible gun ownership”