Matthew McConaughey pleads for responsible gun ownership in emotional White House press briefing

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Matthew McConaughey gave an emotional plea to challenge gun ownership laws during a White House press briefing on Tuesday afternoon following a private meeting with President Joe Biden.

The 52-year-old actor is a native of Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos during a shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24.

McConaughey said gun ownership should be a “non-partisan” issue as he argued that “people in power have failed to act.”

“We need background checks,” he said from the lectern while offering solutions to changes in outdated gun laws. “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.”

Matthew McConaughey pleads for responsible gun ownership in emotional White House press briefing

McConaughey said gun ownership should be a "non-partisan" issue as he argued that "people in power have failed to act." McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas, expressed his support for new legislation for more gun control in the wake of the elementary school shooting in his hometown that left 19 children and 2 adults dead.
(Win Macgee)

“How can the loss of these lives matter?” he reflected. “We need to recognize that this time it seems something is different.”

McConaughey said it was imperative that elected officials “on both sides of the aisle” speak with each other to find solutions for the American people. 

“We are in a window of opportunity right now that we have not been in before. A window where it seems like real change, real change can happen,” he said.

He recalled learning “responsible gun ownership” while growing up in the small south Texas town, roughly 80 miles outside of Austin.

After hearing of the mass devastation in his hometown, McConaughey said he “drove home and hugged my children a bit longer and tighter than the night before.” He, along with wife Camila Alves and their three kids, then drove to Uvalde the following morning.

Matthew McConaughey pleads for responsible gun ownership in emotional White House press briefing

McConaughey said it was imperative that elected officials "on both sides of the aisle" speak with each other to find solutions for the American people. 
(Win McNamee)

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“Even from the inside of our vehicle, you could feel the shock in the town,” he said. 

He shared tragic stories of victims after meeting with families who lost loved ones at Robb Elementary. 

McConaughey recalled a conversation with Alithia Ramirez’s father, Ryan, who remained stoic and kept his emotions at bay for the sake of his family. 

“You’d be strong for your wife and kids, because if they see you go crazy, that will not help them,” McConaughey remembered Ryan saying.

Camila carried a pair of green sneakers with her to the conference which belonged to ten-year-old victim Maite Yuleana Rodriguez.

“These were the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting,” McConaughey said before hitting the podium with an impassioned request. “Make the loss of her life matter.”

Matthew McConaughey pleads for responsible gun ownership in emotional White House press briefing

Camila carried a pair of green sneakers with her to the conference which belonged to ten-year-old victim Maite Yuleana Rodriguez.
(Win McNamee)

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At least 17 people were also wounded by the gunman, who used an assault rifle and was killed by responding authorities

McConaughey argued “responsible gun owners are fed up by the Second Amendment” and encouraged “both sides see above the political problem at hand.”

“Let’s come to the common table that represents the American people,” he said. “America — you and me — we are not as divided as we are being told we are. No.”

He added: “We gotta make choices and preserve the traditions that can make true progress for the next generation. Let’s start giving all of us good reason to believe that the American dream is not an illusion. We start by making the right choices on the issue that’s in front of us today. We start by making laws.”

The shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is now the third most deadly school shooting in American history following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 28 people were killed in 2012, and the Virginia Tech shooting, in 2007, where 33 people died.

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