Matthew McConaughey Speaks At White House On Gun Violence

By Terrance Turner

June 7, 2022

Actor Matthew McConaughey spoke at the White House today to address gun violence in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, TX (his hometown). 19 children and two adults were killed in a massacre by an 18-year-old gunman who had purchased to AR-15 style rifles (and large quantities of ammunition) on May 24. Today, McConaughey addressed the public from the lectern of the White House Press Room, with the subject: “To make the loss of these lives matter.”

“My wife and I, Camilla, we spent most of last week on the ground with the families in Uvalde Texas. We shared their stories, tears and memories, and the common thread — independent of the anger and the confusion [and] sadness — it was the same: How can these families continue to honor these deaths by keeping the dreams of these children and teachers alive? How can the loss of these lives matter?

While we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time, it seems that something is different. There’s a sense that perhaps, there’s a viable path forward. Responsible parties in this debate seem to at least be committed to sitting down and having a real conversation about a new and improved path forward — a path that can bring us closer together and make us safe, a path that can actually get something done…this time. 

Now Camilla and I came here to share my stories from my hometown, Uvalde. We came here to take meetings with elected officials on both sides of the aisle; we came here to speak to them, to speak with them, and to urge them to speak with each other — to remind and inspire them that the American people will continue to drive forward the mission of keeping our children safe, because it’s more than our right to do so; it’s our responsibility to do so. 

I’m here today in hopes of applying what energy, reason, and passion that I have in to trying to turn this moment into a reality because, as I said, this moment is different. 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.

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“Uvalde, Texas is where I was born, where my my mom taught less than a mile from Robb Elementary. Uvalde’s where I learned to master a Daisy BB gun. Took two years before I graduated to a 410 shotgun. 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 and Uvalde called me on May 24th, when I learned the news of this devastating tragedy.

I’d been out of cellular range, working in a studio all day, when I emerged and messages about the mass shooting in the town I was born in began flooding my inbox. In a bit of shock, I drove home; I hugged my children a bit tighter and longer than the night before, and then the reality of what had happened that day in a town I was born set in.”

The next morning, he, Camilla, and the kids got in the truck and went to Uvalde. “I got to tell you: even from the inside of our vehicle, you could feel the shock in the town. You could feel the pain, the denial, the disillusion. Anger, blame, sadness, loss of life. We saw ministries, we saw first responders, counselors, cooks, families, trying to grieve without it being on the front page of the news. We met with the local funeral director and countless morticians who hadn’t slept since the massacre the day before — ’cause they’d been working 24/7 trying to handle so many bodies at once; so many little, innocent bodies who had their entire lives yet to live.”

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“It’s come to common table that represents the American people. Find a common ground — the place where most of us Americans live anyway,” he said. ‘Because I promise you: we are not as divided as folks tell us we are!

So where do we start? We start by making the right choice on the issue that is in front of us. today. We start by making laws that protect innocent lives and don’t infringe on our Second Amendment rights.

We start by making these lives matter.”

McConaughey focused on the victims today, telling moving stories of their lives. One of the victims wore green Converse sneakers, which she had drawn on a heart to represent her love of nature. “Wore those every day. Green Converse, with a heart on the white toe.” Those shoes, he said, turned out to be the only evidence that could identify her.

“So we know it’s on the table. We need to invest in mental health care. 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. Responsible gun ownership. We need background checks 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. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation: states, community, schools and homes responsible are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back; they’re a step forward for a civil society and the Second Amendment.”

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