Matthew McConaughey meets Biden and calls for an end to gun violence

WASHINGTON – Actor Matthew McConaughey, a native son of Uvalde, Texas, took the lectern in the White House meeting room on Tuesday and spoke of learning, in his childhood, “to reverence the power and ability” of a pistol. He then recounted the horror he felt at losing 19 schoolchildren in his hometown to a man with a gun so powerful it disfigured many of their bodies beyond recognition.

Fresh from a meeting with President Biden, McConaughey echoed the president’s request to expand background checks on gun buyers, new “red flag” laws and further restrictions on the purchase of AR-15 rifles such as the one used to kill 19 children and two teachers in a school. elementary school in Uvalde last month. He presented himself as a voice for responsible gun owners and described, in graphic detail, the horrors of gun violence.

“The children were left not only dead, but empty,” McConaughey said, describing meeting the parents of the children killed in Uvalde whose bodies had been “so mutilated that only DNA tests” or sneakers. Green converses could be used to identify them.

“Yes, the councilors will be needed in Uvalde for a long time,” he said.

The shooting is one of the deadliest attacks on school registered and one of over 200 mass shootings registered in the US so far this year. Only 10 days before Uvalde’s shooting, a gunman shot 10 people to death in a Buffalo grocery store.

Mr. McConaughey’s appearance in the White House came when a bipartisan group of senators tried to negotiate new legislation to respond to gun violence. Senators involved in the talks expressed tenuous optimism that they could produce some sort of legislation that could clean up the evenly divided chamber, although he was certain that it fell short of some measures, such as a banning of assault weapons, which Mr. Biden asked.

Mr. McConaughey, who also met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, said he and his wife, Camilla, had gone to Uvalde the day after the shooting.

“You might feel the shock in the city,” he said. “You may feel the pain, the denial, the disillusionment, the anger, the guilt, the sadness. Loss of life, maintenance of dreams.

He choked while talking about meeting the parents of Alithia Ramirez, 10, who dreamed of going to an art school in Paris and how Alithia’s father Ryan had recently secured a higher paying job by promising to spoil her by taking her to Sea World.

Mr. McConaughey asked his wife to hold the green Converse high top sneakers worn every day by a 10-year-old girl Maite Rodriguez, who hoped to study someday to become a marine biologist and who had drawn a heart on the right tip to symbolize her love for nature. “These are the same green Converse at her feet,” McConaughey said, “which turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting.”

He slapped the lectern. “How about that?”

He also described meeting a cosmetologist who is experienced in applying mortuary makeup for open casket visits. “These bodies were very different,” said Mr. McConaughey. “They needed a lot more than makeup to be presentable. They needed an extensive restoration. How come? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle.

After a few minutes, Mr. McConaughey turned to politics. He called on the media to cut back on the blatant coverage of the mass shootings. He has repeatedly called for the need for “responsible gun ownership,” including new regulations that the Democrats pushed in response to the shootings.

“We need to raise the minimum age to buy an AR-15 rifle to 21,” he said. “We need a waiting period for those guns. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them. These are reasonable rules, practices and tactics ”.

Mr. McConaughey, the star of films like “Dazed and Confused” and “Dallas Buyers Club” and the television series “True Detective”, last year considered running for governor of Texas but ruled out. in Novemberdefining the policy “a path that I am choosing not to take at this moment”.

Emily Cochrane Other Annie Karni contributed reportage.

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