An emotional Matthew McConaughey took to the White House briefing room on Tuesday to plead for tougher gun laws following the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
The veteran actor got emotional as he held up artwork and photos of children killed by the 18-year-old gunman and described the severity of injuries inflicted by the AR-15-style rifle used in that massacre.
“Make those lives matter,” he said. As a photo of a young girl’s green converse shoes appeared on screens in front of reporters, he explained that the child’s distinctive shoes were the only way to identify her body.
Mr McConnaughey also told reporters he had met a cosmetologist who was working to prepare the bodies of the victims for viewing at funerals.
He said she told him and his wife that the bodies in the Uvalde shooting “looked very different” because they “needed a lot more than makeup to look presentable.”
“They needed a major restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds, an AR 15 rifle,” he said, adding that the child victims “were left not just dead but hollow” by the high-powered bullets.
The veteran actor said the parents he and his wife met in Uvalde wanted their children’s “dreams to live on”, and noted that everyone they met there wanted “laws on guns that wouldn’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get those damn guns.”
He called on Congress to “lead with humility and recognize…values that are above politics” by passing laws to make it harder for teens to get high-powered guns.
“We need to raise the minimum age to buy an AR rifle from 15 to 21. We need a waiting period for these rifles. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who misuse them” “These are reasonable, practical, tactical rules,” he said.
Mr McConnaughey, a gun owner himself, said “responsible gun owners” were “fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and misused by deranged individuals”.
“These regulations are not a step backwards,” he said. “They are a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment.”
He added that passing such legislation should be “a non-partisan matter.”
“We now have a chance to reach out and seize higher ground above our political affiliations – a chance to make a choice that does more than protect your party,” he said. “Choose to make a choice that protects our country now and for the next generation. We need to take a sober, humble and honest look in the mirror and rebrand ourselves based on what we truly value.”
Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two adults in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24
On the morning of the attack, Ramos sent a direct message to an individual on a Facebook platform saying, “I am going to shoot an elementary school.
Local police have since come under fire for their handling of the active shooter scene, allowing Ramos to shoot his victims for more than 45 minutes before he was finally shot by a Border Patrol agent at the scene.