Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey has delivered an emotional and powerful speech calling for changes to America’s gun laws.
It comes in the wake of last month’s tragic shooting at a school in McConaughey’s hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
The 52-year-old met with US President Joe Biden earlier in the day, before delivering the impassioned speech from the White House.
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Through tears, McConaughey held up a photo of one of the young victims, recalling the horrific moment she had to be identified by her shoes.
“Maite wore green, high-top Converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature… Wore these every day. Green Converse. With a heart on the right toe,” he said.
“These are the same green converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting”.
He continued by sharing the “stories, tears, and memories” that he and his wife Camila Alves witnessed during their trip back home following the shooting.
“The common thread, independent of the anger and the confusion and the sadness, was the same: How can these families continue to honor these deaths by keeping the dreams of these children and teachers alive?”
“So while we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time it seems that something is different,
“There is a sense that perhaps there is 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.. a path that can bring us closer together and make us safer as a country. A path that can actually get something done this time.”
Overcome with emotion, the Oscar winner pleaded for U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to raise the minimum age gun owners can purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21.
“This should not be a partisan issue,” McConaughey said.
“There is not a democratic or republican value in one single act of these shooters, but people in power have failed to act.”