McConaughey, who was born and raised in Uvalde, spoke to several lawmakers earlier in the day about the need for reformed gun control before making his address. He began his speech by telling the stories of several victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting that occurred on May 24. According to McConaughey, he spent the weeks following the shooting speaking to the families of victims, learning about the lives of those killed in the shooting.
“The common thread, independent of the anger and the confusion and the sadness, it was the same,” McConaughey said. “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? So while we honor and acknowledge these victims, we need to recognize that this time, things seem different. There is a sense that there is perhaps a viable path forward.”
During his speech, McConaughey spoke about growing up in Uvalde and showed photos of some of the victims. He said that all of the people he spoke to wanted reformed gun legislation, and he then demanded background checks, a raise on the minimum age to purchase an automatic rifle, red flag laws and other proposed pieces of gun legislation.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals,” McConaughey said. “These regulations are not a step back, they are a step forward for our society and the Second Amendment.”
McConaughey ended his speech by pleading for a bipartisan effort to make meaningful change in gun legislation.
“Set an example for our children, give us reason to tell them, ‘Hey, listen and watch these men and women, these are great American leaders right here, hope you grow up to be like them,'” McConaughey said. “Let’s admit it, we can’t truly be leaders if we’re only living for re-election.”
In the weeks following the Uvalde tragedy, McConaughey has been active in calling for action from the government, posting a statement the night after the shooting. On Monday, he published an op-ed in which he clarified that he supports the Second Amendment, but also supports background checks and “gun responsibility” laws.
“There is a difference between control and responsibility,” he wrote in the op-ed. “The first is a mandate that can infringe on our right; the second is a duty that will preserve it. There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”