Matthew McConaughey urges Congress to reform gun laws during emotional White House speech

The Uvalde native said he met with the families of the 19 kids and two teachers killed last month at Robb Elementary School.

AP Phot / Evan Vucci
Actor Matthew McConaughey holds a picture or 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.

Texas actor Matthew McConaughey on Tuesday called on Republicans and Democrats in Washington to come together and pass gun reform.

In an emotional speech during a White House press briefing, the Uvalde native said he met with the families of the 19 kids and two teachers killed last month at Robb Elementary School.

McConaughey said the families told him they wanted secured schools and changes to gun laws.

"This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters," McConaughey said after mentioning other mass shootings. "But people in power have failed to act."

McConaughey's remarks come as the White House is pushing for Congress to pass some sort of gun reform.

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled this week to start discussing multiple gun safety-related proposals, including the Protecting Our Kids Act, which includes a provision that would increase the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. John Cornyn has been tasked to lead conversations with Senate Democrats on potential proposals to address gun violence.

Locally, however, Gov. Greg Abbott has signaled he'd like the state to focus on addressing mental health issues, instead of gun control.

In his emotional speech, McConaughey pushed for so-called red flag laws, which allow an individual to petition a court to temporarily remove the weapons of someone who has been deemed a threat to themselves or others.

He also called for more background checks and raising the minimum age to purchase AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, the type of firearm used by the Uvalde shooter.

"These regulations are not a step back," McConaughey said. "They’re a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment."

He pleaded with lawmakers for change.

"Let’s admit it: We can’t truly be leaders if we’re only living for reelection," McConaughey said.

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