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The actor – who was born in Uvalde, Texas where a mass shooting at a school took place last month – named background checks, age minimums for gun ownership, and mandatory waiting periods before the purchase of assault rifles as measures that could effectively diminish incidences of mass shootings in America. He also wrote with urgency about the need for more resources dedicated to mental health care.
McConaughey returned to his hometown, where his mother had worked as a school teacher, three days after the mass shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead on 24 May. An 18-year-old gunman named Salvador Ramos opened fire at the Robb Elementary School with a handgun and a rifle, according to officials.
Writing in the Austin American-Statesman, McConaughey described his personal motivations for weighing in on the debate over gun control, which has been reinvigorated following the tragedy: “I am a father, the son of a kindergarten teacher, and an American. I was also born in Uvalde, Texas.”
In his op-ed, which acknowledges and supports the right to private gun ownership under the Second Amendment, McConaughey argues for measures he believes would prevent “dangerous people” from accessing firearms. He urged bipartisanship on the hot-button issue in American politics.
“There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”
McConaughey, who previously “pondered” running for office in his home state of Texas, won an Oscar for his role in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club, played a stripper in Magic Mike, and starred in the first season of the crime drama True Detective.
Today (6 June), the actor threw his support behind four “reasonable measures to restore responsible gun ownership ”.
Those measures also include “Red Flag Laws”, which “empower loved ones or law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily prevent individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or accessing firearms”. The Uvalde gunman bought two AR-15 rifles in the days prior to the shooting.
You can read McConaughey’s full op-ed here.