Furious Texan Matthew McConaghey calls for gun control in emotional White House plea

8 June 2022, 10:16 | Updated: 8 June 2022, 10:24

Matthew McConaughey called for change during his White House speech.
Matthew McConaughey called for change during his White House speech. Picture: PA/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Matthew McConaughey has pleaded with Congress to take action on gun control following a shooting at a primary school in Texas.

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The actor took to the stage at the James Brady briefing room in the White House to call for change in a harrowing speech.

It came after 21 people were killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde - 19 of them children.

"We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won't make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns," McConaughey said in the 22-minute speech.

He spoke of learning to become a responsible gun owner as a youngster in Uvalde, also revealing that he and his wife drove back there the day after the shooting to spend time with the families of some of the victims and others directly impacted by the rampage.

He said every parent he spoke to expressed that "they want their children's dreams to live on".

"They want to make their loss of life matter," McConaughey said.

He related the personal stories of a number of the victims, displaying the artwork of one girl and the trademark green shoes worn by another.

Read more: Boy, 10, locked up in America for sending 'joking' texts featuring gun pictures

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Matthew McConaughey says Uvalde victim could only be identified by green Converse sneakers as he speaks on gun control

McConaughey acknowledged that gun legislation would not end mass shootings but suggested that steps can be taken to lessen the chances of such tragedies happening as often.

"We need to invest in mental healthcare," he said.

"We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalised media coverage. We need to restore our family values.

"We need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership.

"Is this a cure all? Hell no, but people are hurting."

Before his speech, the actor briefly met with President Joe Biden but refused to take press questions afterwards.

McConaughey previously considered running for governor in Texas before taking a pass.

He updated supporters in a Twitter video saying: "As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership.

"It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It is also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

In a statement released on the day of the shooting, the star said "this is an epidemic we can control" and called for action to be taken "so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured".