Matthew McConaughey quotes a Bible verse as he honors Uvalde’s victims during a White House press event

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Following the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made an appearance at the White House press briefing on Tuesday after touring Capitol Hill and briefly meeting privately with President Joe Biden.

In an impassioned 22-minute speech, McConaughey, a gun owner himself, called on a stalled Congress to pass gun reforms that could save lives without violating Second Amendment rights.

A native of Uvalde, McConaughey, 52, addressed reporters calling for ‘gun responsibility’ and talking about the children whose funerals he attended, including nine-year-old Ellie Garcia, who was memorizing a verse biblical before his death.

Ellie loved to dance and she loved church. She had attended a Baptist church with her uncle for two years, the Texas actor explained.

“Her mother and father were proud of her because, they said, ‘She was learning to love God no matter where.’ The week before she died, she had prepared to read a Bible verse for the church service the following Wednesday evening.The verse was taken from Deuteronomy 6:5.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.“, said McConaughey.

“That’s what Ellie was becoming,” he continued. “But she never got to read it. The service is on a Wednesday night,” he noted.

“A Viable Way Forward”

The actor also said he believes this time “there’s a sense of a viable path forward. The 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 – a path that can bring us closer together and make us safer as a country, a path that can actually get things done this time.”

McConaughey also told assembled media representatives and a national television audience that there are several ways to solve the current problem.

“We need to invest in mental health care. We need safer schools. We need to limit sensational media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values,” the actor said.

“We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to buy an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for these rifles. We need laws and consequences for those who abuse it,” McConaughey continued.

The Texas native’s remarks came as a bipartisan group of senators work toward an agreement on gun legislation.

Among the proposals discussed by lawmakers include changing criminal background checks to include records of minors, urging states to enact “red flag laws” to remove firearms from people who may be deemed dangerous and funding for school safety and mental health.

On May 25, the day of the Uvalde shooting in which 19 children and two teachers died in the second deadliest school shooting in US history, McConaughey tweeted: “The real call to action now is for every American to take a longer, deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, ‘What do we really appreciate?'”

“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better. Steps must be taken so that no parent has to go through what Uvalde’s parents and others before them have endured,” he wrote.

“And to those who dropped off their loved ones today not knowing it was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can bring comfort we will bring them.”

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