(The Hill) — Matthew McConaughey says it’s time to transform the gun control debate and instead “talk about gun responsibility” in the wake of the school shooting in his Texas hometown.
“I am a father, the son of a kindergarten teacher, and an American. I was also born in Uvalde, Texas. That’s why I’m writing this,” the actor wrote in an opinion column published Monday on the front page of the Austin American-Statesman.
“I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children,” McConaughey wrote.
“The debate about gun control has delivered nothing but status quo,” McConaughey, a 52-year-old dad of three, said.
McConaughey said while gun control is “a mandate that can infringe” on Second Amendment rights, gun responsibility “is a duty that will preserve it.”
“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,” he said.
McConaughey’s opinion piece came less than two weeks after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Texas last month. Just hours after the May shooting, McConaughey took to Instagram and pressed for a “call to action,” saying gun violence “is an epidemic we can control.”
In his Monday newspaper column, the Academy Award winner urged lawmakers to “make bipartisan compromises” on four “reasonable measures to restore responsible gun ownership in our country.”
McConaughey, who last year flirted with a Texas gubernatorial run, outlined his suggested measures, including requiring background checks on all gun purchases, raising the legal age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21 and instituting national waiting periods for them, and implementing a national red flag law system.
“Integrating gun safety training, safe storage proposals, and bolstering school safety are also beneficial, but are not government-only solutions,” McConaughey said.
“I am not under the illusion that these policies will solve all of our problems,” McConaughey wrote, “but if responsible solutions can stop some of these tragedies from striking another community without destroying the Second Amendment, they’re worth it.”
In order for lawmakers to “find common ground” on the issue, McConaughey said, “both sides are going to have to answer the call and reach for the higher ground of our collective responsibility.” He pushed for “real leaders” to “step up and do what’s right.”
A bipartisan group of nine senators is poised to resume talks this week on gun reform in the wake of the Uvalde attack and a series of mass shootings across the country.
“This is not a choice between guns or no guns,” McConaughey said. “It’s the responsible choice. It’s the reasonable choice. It’s a quintessentially American choice: Where I have the right to be me, you have the freedom to be you, and we have the responsibility to be US.”