After meeting with President Joe Biden, Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas, made a passionate plea for gun reform at Tuesday's White House press briefing as Congress considers new legislation this week.
McConaughey, noting he is a gun owner, offered extensive details of his meetings with grieving families last week in his hometown.
"The common thread -- independent of the anger and the confusion and sadness -- it was the same. How can these families continue to honor these deaths by keeping the dreams of these children and teachers alive? How can a loss of these lives matter?" he began.
"While we honor and acknowledge the victims, we need to recognize that this time [it] seems that something is different."
His wife, Camila Alves, was also present at the briefing and brought green Converse sneakers that had belonged to one of the shooting victims. McConaughey described how the small shoes -- with a heart drawn on the right toe -- were the "only clear evidence that could identify her."
"These bodies were very different," he said of the victims. "They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them."
McConaughey met with scores of lawmakers on Capitol Hill as he pushes for reform, including universal background checks and raising the minimum age to buy an AR-15 from 18 to 21 -- measures beyond what would appear in any Senate compromise.
"Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back. They're a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment," he said passionately while standing at the podium.
McConaughey also spoke at length about growing up in Uvalde, where he said he "learned responsible gun ownership."
"It’s where my mom taught kindergarten -- less than a mile from Robb Elementary. Uvalde is where I learned to master a Daisy BB gun ... took two years before I graduated to a .410 shotgun," he added, saying he was brought up "to revere the power and the capability of the tool that we call a gun."