Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves visited the White House on Tuesday to advocate for gun control and pay tribute to the victims of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Tex., where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
The actor, a native of the small town where the tragedy occurred, held meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill before speaking at a press briefing, where he shared stories about his experience meeting with victims' families over the past week. Growing emotional at times, McConaughey showed artwork the children had done in school and told reporters what he had learned about their dreams and aspirations from their families.
"You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for? What every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children's dreams to live on," he said. "That they want their children's dreams to continue, to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter."
McConaughey continued, "We're in a window of opportunity right now that we have not been in before... a window where it seems like real change can happen." He also spoke about growing up in Uvalde and his relationship with "responsible gun ownership," which he says started when he was young.
"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," McConaughey said. "We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them."
White House Matthew McConaughey visiting the White House to speak about gun reform and honor the Uvalde victims.
While McConaughey said those solutions are not a "cure-all," he argued they are necessary because "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. But this should be a non-partisan issue."
Following news of the shooting, the Oscar-winner took to Twitter to speak out against gun violence, saying, "We have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedom grants us." The actor has publicly discussed a potential run for governor of Texas. Back in November 2020, he downplayed the idea, telling Stephen Colbert that a political career wasn't on the table. But in March 2021, he seemed more open to running, telling The Balanced Voice podcast that it was "a true consideration."
Watch McConaughey's press conference, starting at the 38-minute mark, in the video above.