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Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey makes emotional plea for gun control legislation from White House briefing room

McConaughey makes emotional appeal for gun reform
Matthew McConaughey makes emotional appeal for gun reform 03:42

Actor and Uvalde, Texas, native Matthew McConaughey made an emotional plea to Congress for new gun control legislation from the White House briefing room Tuesday, after meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and President Biden at the White House. Making schools safer and expanding background checks for people to to get access to guns should be a nonpartisan issue, McConaughey said. 

"We start by making the loss of these lives matter," he told reporters. 

"We start with laws that save innocent lives and don't infringe on our Second Amendment rights," McConaughey said in remarks during which he sometimes appeared to be fighting back tears. 

"These regulations are not a step back. They're a step forward — for a civil society, and, and the Second Amendment," he said. "Look, is this a cure all? Hell, no. But people are hurting. Families are, parents are. And look, as divided as our country is, this gun responsibility issue is one that we agree on more than we don't. It really is. Look, this should be a nonpartisan issue." 

Matthew McConaughey speaks out about Uvalde victims and gun laws at White House: "This should not be a partisan issue" 21:45

McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, met with the families of the victims of the massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead. He told some of those stories to the White House press corps — and the country — Tuesday, ruing that these children and teachers will never have the chance to pursue their dreams. 

He shared mementos from the families of their lost loved ones — a self-portrait drawn by 10-year-old Alithia Ramirez, and the green Converse sneakers worn by 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, who, McConnaughey said, wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up. She had drawn a heart on the toe of her shoes. It was meant to signify her love of nature. McConnaughey went on to say that those shoes "turned out to be the only evidence that could identify her after the shooting." "How about that," he said, slamming his fist on the podium.

Actor Matthew McConaughey speaks to reporters about guns and mass shootings during a press briefing at the White House
Actor Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas, becomes emotional as he holds up a picture of a young victim of the school shooting in Uvalde, during a White House briefing on June 7, 2022. KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS

McConnaughey told reporters that Uvalde was where he was born, where he used his first BB gun, his first 410 shotgun — and where he learned responsible gun ownership. The actor insisted that the country can pass laws that make it harder for malicious actors to get their hands on weapons, and at the same time respects and upholds the Second Amendment. 

"Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals," McConnaughey said.

He mentioned red flag laws, bolstering mental health, background checks, waiting periods, as possible measures that could help. 

The actor did not take questions about his meetings in Washington, D.C., and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not divulge anything about their conversation, which she said was private. 

Sen. Chris Murphy, who met with President Biden on Tuesday, said he hopes a bipartisan group of negotiators can reach an agreement on a framework for gun-related legislation by the end of the week. Murphy also met with the president on Tuesday. 

"I've failed so many times before in these talks that I"m sober-minded about our chances," Murphy said Tuesday on ABC's "The View." "But normally, as time goes on, after one of these cataclysmic mass shootings, the momentum fades. The opposite seems to be happening this time. There are more Republicans every single day who want to help us get to a product and so, I am deeply hopeful that perhaps by the end of this week, we can announce a framework that will allow us to take votes."

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