The massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 21 people died, touched Matthew McConaughey very closely. It was in this Texas town where the Oscar-winning actor was born 52 years ago, and the place he returned to last week to speak with relatives of the shooter’s victims, an 18-year-old named Salvador Ramos .

On Tuesday, McConaughey was at the White House to call for gun reform. “We’re in a window of opportunity right now that we weren’t in before, a window where it looks like real change, real change can happen,” McConaughey told reporters, before being introduced by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. like someone who owns guns.

During his moving speech, he remembered some of the children who were killed inside Robb Elementary School on May 24. McConaughey was in Uvalde a few days ago and met with relatives of the victims, and he spoke about it from the White House podium. He showed a colorful drawing made by Alithia Ramírez, a 10-year-old girl who wanted to one day attend art school in Paris. He also spoke about Maite Rodríguez’s dreams of being a marine biologist, pointing to a pair of green Converse sneakers held by his wife, Camila Alves, which belonged to the miner. “Green Converse with a heart on the right toe,” McConaughey said. “Those are the same green Converse shoes on his feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify him after the shooting. What about that?” he wondered as he tapped on the desk. from the press room.

Before his speech to the media, the actor briefly met with President Joe Biden and members of the US Congress. Lawmakers, shooting victims and advocates for tougher gun laws, including the actor, spoke out in Washington on Tuesday in support of legislation to curb mass shootings amid signs of movement on a possible change. McConaughey said that when he was in Uvalde, the families of the victims told him they wanted those losses to count. “They want their children’s dreams to live on,” the actor said.

“We consoled so many people,” he said of his interviews with the families. “And you know what they all said?” “We want safe and secure schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these fucking guns.” “We need to invest in mental health care. We need safer schools,” McConaughey insisted. “We need to restore our American values ​​and we need responsible gun ownership. We need background checks,” he continued. “We need to raise the minimum age to buy a gun. AR-15 to 21.” According to him, being a responsible gun owner and regulating one’s access is not in contradiction with the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms.

Camila Alves McConaughey listens to her husband while holding sneakers that belonged to the late 10-year-old Maite Yuleana Rodríguez.Susan Walsh (AP)

McConaughey, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 2014 for the film Dallas Buyers Club, and who was considering running for governor of Texas (which he ultimately ruled out despite favorable polls), said the gun debate should be a “nonpartisan issue.” “As divided as our country is, the issue of gun liability is an issue we agree on,” he said. “There is no Democratic or Republican value in a single act of these shooters. Can both sides see past the current political issue and admit that we have a life preservation issue on our hands ?”

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they were encouraged by possible changes because of ongoing talks with Republicans. The White House, for its part, said President Biden aims to pass some sort of legislation, even if no deal can be reached on banning assault rifles, while Congress debates federal legislation on firearms after more than a decade of inaction on the issue. The renewed effort to tackle gun violence comes after a series of mass shootings across the country.