By Reena BhardwajWashington [US], June 8 (ANI): Oscar-winning actor, Matthew McConaughey delivered a moving and powerful address at the White House briefing on Wednesday as he underlined the need for “responsible” gun legislation.
McConnaughey is a native of Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos during a shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24. The 52-year-old Hollywood star spoke movingly in tribute to the victims and their lives cut short, sharing deeply personal stories.
Discussing the victims in the emotional address, he spoke of Maite Rodriguez, 9, noting that she aspired to be a marine biologist who already had been in contract with Texas AM at Corpus Christi, hoping to attend one day.
“Maite wore green high top Converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature,” he said. His wife then held up the shoes.
“She wore these every day,” he added. “Green Converse, with a heart on the right toe. These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her at the shooting. How about that.”McConnaughey went through a brief biography of each victim, at one point slamming his fist on the lectern in seeming frustration at the loss of life.
“Enough of the counter-punching, enough of the invalidation of the other side. Let’s find a middle ground – the place where most of us Americans live anyway – especially on this issue.
“Maybe set an example for our children give us reason to tell them…these are great American leaders right here I hope you grow up to be like them.
“We can’t truly be leaders if we are only living for re-election.””I promise you, America, you and me, we are not as divided as we are being told we are,” he said in his 20-minute speech.
Following a meeting with President Joe Biden, the Hollywood star told reporters how he and his wife Camilla had spent the past week with the grieving families and spoken at length about their loss – and the need for “making these lives matter”.
He added that every parent of every victim had told him and his wife they wanted their “children’s dreams to live on…to continue to accomplish something after they are gone” which had been his impetus to speak.
Everyone he had spoken to, “families of deceased, mothers, fathers, Texas rangers, hunters, responsible gun owners”, he said, had been united.
“They all said we want responsible gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns,” he said during the White House address.
The actor acknowledged Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms and said that he believed that constitutional right does not mean there is no effective gun control legislation.
“Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by deranged individuals, he told reporters, adding that these regulations are not a step back, but rather a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment.
President Joe Biden last week called for banning semi-automatic, assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines and raising the minimum age to buy those weapons from 18 to 21 amid an increase in mass shooting incidents in the US. (ANI)