US Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey has made an emotional speech in which he urged politicians from both major US political parties to pass legislation tightening gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Ulvade Elementary School which killed 19 young students and 2 teachers.
The actor made the speech at the White House, from where President Joe Biden has continually urged stronger controls on assault weapons such as the AR-15.
In the emotional 22-minute speech, he said laws can be tightened while maintaining the 2nd amendment of the US constitution, which allows for gun ownership as part of a well-regulated militia.
“So while we honour 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… Uvalde, Texas, is where I was born. It’s where my mom taught kindergarten less than a mile from Robb Elementary.”
He continued, while his wife held a small pair of green converse shoes:
“Maite (one of the child victims) wore green high-top Converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature. Maite wore these every day. 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 after the shooting. How about that?”
“So, we know what’s on the table. We need to invest in mental healthcare. We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values. And we need responsible gun ownership — responsible gun ownership. We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for those rifles. We need red-flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states, communities, schools, and homes.”
It is thought unlikely that new gun legislation will be passed due to the refusal by the Republican party in Congress and in the Senate to back these laws.
[Based on reporting by: The Guardian]