Actor Matthew McConaughey, who hails from Uvalde, Texas, where the elementary school shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers last month occurred, made an emotional appeal for gun control during a speech at the White House on Tuesday night.

McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, spent a week in the actor’s hometown with the victims’ grieving families. In his 20-minute speech, he detailed at length the dreams the children had. Maite Rodriguez, 9, had dreams of being a marine biologist. Ellie Garcia loved church and worked with her dad and uncles to mow yards. She couldn’t wait to recite a Bible verse at her church’s Wednesday night service.

“You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for? What every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children’s dreams to live on. That they want their children’s dreams to continue, to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter,” McConaughey said.

He focused on what the Biden administration has been referring to as “commonsense” gun laws, which includes expanding background checks, enacting reg flag laws and increasing the minimum age to buy an AR-15, most mass shooters’ weapon of choice, from 18 to 21.

McConaughey also met with lawmakers on both sides, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California).

The actor urged Congress to set aside politics and find common ground to take advantage of an opportunity to create real change.

“Enough with the counter-punching. Enough of the invalidation of the other side,” he said. “Let’s come to the common table that represents the American people. Find a middle ground, the place where most of us Americans live anyway. Especially on this issue. Because I promise you, America, you and me, we are not as divided as we are being told we are.”

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