Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey says ‘real change can happen’ on gun reform – as it happened

Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey says ‘real change can happen’ on gun reform – as it happened

Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey says ‘real change can happen’ on gun reform

The daily White House press briefing has started, and at the podium is actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey, who is making his pitch for gun control.

McConaughey said he’d spent the past week in his home town and was now in Washington to share stories of the victims and their families in hopes of swaying lawmakers skeptical of gun control legislation.

“While we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time seems that something is different,” McConaughey said, speaking from behind the White House podium. “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.”

“I’m here today in hopes of applying what energy, reason and passion that I have and to try 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,” he continued.

You can tune into the full briefing here.

Today so far

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

That’s it from us today. Here’s how the day unfolded in Washington, as voters in several states head to the polls:

  • Primaries are being held in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota to choose candidates for the upcoming midterm elections in November. At the local level, voters in San Francisco are weighing whether to oust District Attorney Chesa Boudin amid rising concerns about crime and homelessness in the city.
  • Actor Matthew McConaughey appeared at the White House press briefing to urge lawmakers to strengthen gun laws. McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, recounted his experiences meeting with families who lost children in the massacre at Robb Elementary school last month. He told reporters, “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.”
  • The Senate judiciary committee held a hearing on domestic terrorism in response to the racist shooting in Buffalo last month. Among those who testified was Garnell Whitfield Jr, whose mother was killed in the Buffalo attack. Whitfield said at the hearing, “I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers, as you look at mine and ask yourself, is there nothing that we can do? Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of white supremacy?”
  • Joe Biden met with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to discuss negotiations over a compromise gun-control bill. After the meeting, Murphy said he was optimistic about the progress being made in talks with his Republican colleagues. “I am encouraged by the discussions that we have had with Republicans over the course of the last week and a half,” Murphy told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Every day we get closer to an agreement, not further away.”
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and House speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a memorial service for the victims of gun violence on the National Mall. At the memorial, Pelosi condemned Republicans for opposing gun-control legislation in the wake of tragedies like the Uvalde massacre and the shooting in Buffalo. She said, “Understand this: your political survival is nothing compared to the survival of our children.”

The blog will be back tomorrow with more coverage of the Senate’s gun-control negotiations and the January 6 committee’s upcoming hearing. See you then.

Hallie Golden

Further up the west coast, my colleague Hallie Golden has an article out today about how a recent study found the terrifying tsunami threat to the Pacific Northwest from the Cascadia fault may be even more scary than originally known:

Scientists have long predicted a giant 9.0-magnitude earthquake that reverberates out from the Pacific north-west’s Cascadia fault and quickly triggers colossal waves barreling to shore.

But what if these predictions were missing an important piece of information – one that, in certain scenarios, could tell an even more extreme story?

A new study, published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Earth-Science Reviews, points toward such a missing piece. Researchers revealed a previously unknown relationship between the severity of a tsunami triggered by an earthquake and something known as “the outer wedge”, the area between the main earthquake fault and the seafloor.

Thus far, Californians don’t seem particularly stoked on this election. While every registered voter was mailed a ballot, only 15% of them were returned early as of Monday evening, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The piece chalks the lack of enthusiasm up to a variety of factors unique to the Golden State, including voters’ weariness following last year’s failed recall of Governor Gavin Newsom, the lack of high-profile races and the fact that the polls aren’t viewed as an opportunity to weigh in on the ever-controversial Donald Trump and his allies.

From the piece:

Election experts say the lackluster participation by Californians stems from a dearth of excitement over this year’s contests, which largely lack competitive races at the top of the ticket. It’s a stark contrast with some parts of the nation, where voter turnout is exceeding expectations.

“It’s a boring election,” said Paul Mitchell, vice president of PDI. “It’s clear from what we’re seeing that we’re going to have a low-turnout election despite the fact the state has made it easier than ever to vote.”

The Democratic consultant predicts primary turnout is likely to be under 30%. “Nothing puts this in better contrast than looking at Georgia right now: They’re doing everything they can, it seems, to make it harder to vote, yet they are having record turnout because voters there feel the future of the country is at stake.”

Georgia’s May 24 primary came after a GOP-backed law imposed new voting requirements and restrictions.

Some predicted that a leaked Supreme Court draft decision eliminating federal protection for abortion access as well as a spate of high-profile mass shootings could motivate voters. But in California, this does not appear to be the case.

California’s early returns are a major drop off from the same period in September’s gubernatorial recall election, when nearly 38% of voters had voted as of election eve. Some 22% of voters had cast ballots at the same point before the last midterm primary election, in 2018, when ballots were not mailed to all California voters.

Polls are open in California until 8pm.

Lois Beckett

Lois Beckett

Meanwhile in California, polls are open in the state’s primary election, where voters will decide among a slew of candidates. Particularly closely watched will be the mayor’s race in Los Angeles and the petition to recall the prosecutor in San Francisco. The Guardian’s Lois Beckett dove into these issues and what they portend for politics in the country’s most-populous state.

High stakes primary races taking place on Tuesday in California are expected to have major consequences for police reform, incarceration, and the state’s growing homelessness crisis.

The most closely watched race is the mayor’s contest in Los Angeles, where voters are deciding between a tough-on-crime real estate developer, Rick Caruso, who has already poured nearly $40m of his own fortune into his primary campaign, and the former community organizer and Democratic congresswoman Karen Bass.

In San Francisco, the city’s progressive prosecutor, Chesa Boudin, is facing a recall election that could have a major impact on movements for criminal justice reform across the US.

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who is taking a leading role in crafting a compromise gun-control bill, said lawmakers are making progress in their negotiations.

Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Murphy said this felt like “a moment where doing nothing is simply not an option,” in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“I am encouraged by the discussions that we have had with Republicans over the course of the last week and a half,” Murphy told reporters. “Every day we get closer to an agreement, not further away.”

Sen. Chris Murphy: "I am encouraged by the discussions that we have had with Republicans over the course of the last week and a half. Every day we get closer to an agreement, not further away." pic.twitter.com/aR6wUHsjU1

— CSPAN (@cspan) June 7, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/cspan/status/1534242158710075394″,”id”:”1534242158710075394″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”d651583b-d1aa-4d48-8078-67aa7b63e302″}}”>

Sen. Chris Murphy: “I am encouraged by the discussions that we have had with Republicans over the course of the last week and a half. Every day we get closer to an agreement, not further away.” pic.twitter.com/aR6wUHsjU1

— CSPAN (@cspan) June 7, 2022

Murphy acknowledged that a compromise bill would not encompass all of the gun-control proposals he would like to see enacted, but he emphasized the importance of reaching an agreement with his Republican colleagues.

“The American people are looking for progress right now. They’re looking for action,” Murphy said. “And my hope is, in the coming days, we’ll be able to come together in a way that gets us 60-plus votes.”

Noting that he is the father of a fourth-grader, Murphy expressed hope that Americans could soon live in a country where their children do not have to go through drills to prepare for a tragedy like the one seen in Uvalde.

McConaughey is telling the story of slain 10-year-old Alithia Ramirez, describing how, due to the wounds inflicted on her by the AR-15 style weapon used in the Uvalde shooting, she was identified by the green Converse sneakers she wore to school that day.

“Counselors are going to be needed in Uvalde for a long time. Counselors are needed,” McConaughey said. “I was told by many that takes a good year before people even understand what to do next … A lifetime is not going to heal those wounds.”

“This gun responsibility issue is one that we agree on more than we don’t,” he continued. “But this should be a non-partisan issue. This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of the issue.”

After wrapping up his speech, McConaughey left the room.

Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey says ‘real change can happen’ on gun reform

The daily White House press briefing has started, and at the podium is actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey, who is making his pitch for gun control.

McConaughey said he’d spent the past week in his home town and was now in Washington to share stories of the victims and their families in hopes of swaying lawmakers skeptical of gun control legislation.

“While we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time seems that something is different,” McConaughey said, speaking from behind the White House podium. “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.”

“I’m here today in hopes of applying what energy, reason and passion that I have and to try 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,” he continued.

You can tune into the full briefing here.

Pelosi says Democrats will introduce gun legislation in the House Wednesday

A package of legislation addressing gun violence will be introduced tomorrow in the House, its speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday:

House update:

Pelosi says gun package coming to the floor tomorrow:
 
“Tomorrow, our Democratic Majority will bring the Protecting Our Kids Act to the Floor, under the leadership of Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler”

— Jordain Carney (@jordainc) June 7, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/jordainc/status/1534236499155337219″,”id”:”1534236499155337219″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”f7e3ed24-1fce-400b-b7de-e7f6f4a9b008″}}”>

House update:

Pelosi says gun package coming to the floor tomorrow:

 

“Tomorrow, our Democratic Majority will bring the Protecting Our Kids Act to the Floor, under the leadership of Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler”

— Jordain Carney (@jordainc) June 7, 2022

It’s unclear if this proposal is related to the ongoing negotiations in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans are trying to reach a bipartisan compromise that can clear the 60-vote bar needed for passage.

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

Actor Matthew McConaughey will appear at the White House press briefing this afternoon, which is expected to begin at any moment.

McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas, and he has voiced ardent support for strengthening America’s gun laws in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary school.

In an op-ed published Monday, McConaughey wrote, “I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children.”

In addition to his appearance at the White House, McConaughey met earlier today with House speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss the ongoing negotiations over gun-control legislation.

“After the recent tragedy in his hometown of Uvalde, we agreed on the need for urgent action to save lives — especially for the children,” Pelosi said on Twitter.

Today, I had the privilege of welcoming @McConaughey to the US Capitol to discuss Congress’ efforts on gun violence prevention legislation. After the recent tragedy in his hometown of Uvalde, we agreed on the need for urgent action to save lives — especially for the children. pic.twitter.com/8eVpVDLUhJ

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 7, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/SpeakerPelosi/status/1534232366092263425″,”id”:”1534232366092263425″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”20bbd903-04cb-4970-a246-b5e3c00d3009″}}”>

Today, I had the privilege of welcoming @McConaughey to the US Capitol to discuss Congress’ efforts on gun violence prevention legislation. After the recent tragedy in his hometown of Uvalde, we agreed on the need for urgent action to save lives — especially for the children. pic.twitter.com/8eVpVDLUhJ

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 7, 2022

The shooters in both Uvalde and Buffalo used an AR-15 style rifle, which many Democrats have said they would love to ban nationwide, while Republican have been more hesitant. CNN reporter Manu Raju has today been going around the Capitol asking Republican senators what people need AR-15s for.

Here’s Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s views:

CNN’s @mkraju: “Why do people need [AR-15s]?”

Sen. Hawley (R-MO): “That’s used for sporting events, for sporting activities all the time.”@mkraju: “People misuse them obviously.”

Hawley: “People misuse handguns all the time. I think this [Uvalde] kid had a handgun as well.” pic.twitter.com/D9771zukF9

— The Recount (@therecount) June 7, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/therecount/status/1534223247641923584?s=20&t=4FyGbRBVhm3zB26S63znEw”,”id”:”1534223247641923584″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”2a17ea3a-06e3-4b18-bed5-bdc437b7337b”}}”>

CNN’s @mkraju: “Why do people need [AR-15s]?”

Sen. Hawley (R-MO): “That’s used for sporting events, for sporting activities all the time.”@mkraju: “People misuse them obviously.”

Hawley: “People misuse handguns all the time. I think this [Uvalde] kid had a handgun as well.” pic.twitter.com/D9771zukF9

— The Recount (@therecount) June 7, 2022

And in this clip, John Thune of South Dakota and Texas’s John Cornyn, who has been negotiating with Democrat Chris Murphy on a potential gun deal, weigh in:

Thune tells me on AR-15s: "In my state, they use them to shoot prairie dogs and other types of varmint"

Cornyn: "You're talking about a constitutional right to keep and bear arms — people who are law-abiding citizens are in good mental health and aren't a threat to the public" pic.twitter.com/AffMpM7tQR

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 7, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1534216857812709376?s=20&t=4FyGbRBVhm3zB26S63znEw”,”id”:”1534216857812709376″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a895eb12-c01d-433c-a1d6-35f095b6b18f”}}”>

Thune tells me on AR-15s: “In my state, they use them to shoot prairie dogs and other types of varmint”

Cornyn: “You’re talking about a constitutional right to keep and bear arms — people who are law-abiding citizens are in good mental health and aren’t a threat to the public” pic.twitter.com/AffMpM7tQR

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 7, 2022

It’s worth pointing out that the AR-15 was not always available to American gun owners. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban specifically prohibited the Colt AR-15 and some similar weapons, though that measure lapsed in 2004.

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