Actor Matthew McConaughey on Tuesday addressed lawmakers from the White House, urging them to pass new gun control legislation in the wake of last month’s elementary school massacre in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas, saying “responsible gun owners” should back efforts to make it harder for “deranged individuals” to purchase firearms.
McConaughey made the comments in a guest appearance at Tuesday’s White House press briefing, where he also eulogized many of the shooting victims.
The actor endorsed action like enhanced background checks, red flag laws and raising the minimum age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21, calling the proposals “reasonable.”
McConaughey met with President Joe Biden earlier in the day to discuss gun control, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals,” McConaughey said.
The Oscar-winning actor has long been an icon of Uvalde, a small town of about 15,000 that was largely unknown to the American public before the May 24 shooting left 19 children and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School. McConaughey, who floated running for governor of Texas and describes himself a political centrist, quickly became one of the most prominent voices calling for gun control after the shooting. Lawmakers are actively in negotiations over potential action, with Sen. Chris Murphy telling CNN he believes “we’re closer than ever before” to getting bipartisan gun control legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also expressed optimism a deal can be brokered, but it remains to be seen whether there will be enough Republican support to pass any substantive changes. Former President Donald Trump called gun control prospects a “grotesque effort” shortly following the massacre.
McConaughey has voiced support for gun control in the past, notably speaking at a 2018 March for Our Lives rally in Austin, Texas, following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.