Matthew McConaughey Op-Ed Calls for Gun ‘Responsibility’ After Uvalde

Matthew McConaughey Op-Ed Calls for Gun ‘Responsibility’ After Uvalde
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Actor Matthew McConaughey wrote an opinion piece for USA Today Monday saying that “It’s time we talk about gun responsibility.” He explained:

There is a difference between control and responsibility. The first is a mandate that can infringe on our right; the second 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 also the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.

Many will ask, why do we give two cents about what a Hollywood celebrity has to say? After all, don’t we have enough confetti-for-brains “stars” spouting off on Twitter all the time?

McConaughey was born and raised in Uvalde, and recently visited there after the terrible tragedy of May 24. Instead of trying to get photo ops like Meghan Markle, he quietly visited the town and offered his support. He also seriously considered running for the Texas governorship in 2022, but ultimately decided not to. He may still run for office someday. He was also spotted in the US Capitol Monday, prompting speculation that he’s consulting with senators who have been mulling over the legislative response to the recent spate of mass shootings.

He gives his own reasons why he chose to write the op-ed:

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.

First, he described what’s happening in the country:

Depraved acts of violence, with guns as the weapon of choice, are ripping apart families, tearing at people’s faith and shredding the fabric of our society.

Next, he proposed a list of solutions that he believes will help stem the epidemic of mass shootings while preserving our Second Amendment rights:

  • All gun purchases should require a background check.
  • Unless you are in the military, you should be 21 years old to purchase an assault rifle.
  • “Red flag” laws should be the law of the land.
  • We need to institute a national waiting period for assault rifles.

My colleague Bonchie points out that background checks would not have stopped the Uvalde shooter, writing that such checks “are really just a Trojan horse for a national gun registry and would do nothing to prevent mass shootings.” He argues that increased security and the hardening of campuses would be more effective measures to stop school shootings. Requiring someone to be 21 to buy an assault rifle, meanwhile, is also problematic because there is debate over what an assault rifle even is. So-called “red flag” laws are ripe for abuse because if your neighbor doesn’t like you, she could simply file a report with the police saying “He’s crazy and he has a gun” and they’ll come to take it away from you.

Many will disagree with some or all of McConaughey’s suggestions, but they are not the rantings of a fanatic like Beto “We’re Going to Take Your AR-15” O’Rourke. The issue is incredibly complicated, but at least he’s trying to have a conversation.

He’s crystal clear on one important point:

I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our Founders, to bear arms.

That statement alone separates him from so many leftists like Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden who say the Second Amendment is “not absolute.”  McConaughey concludes:

This is not a choice between guns or no guns. 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.

To find common ground on this issue, both sides are going to have to answer the call and reach for the higher ground of our collective responsibility.

Not everyone likes this approach, and there are plenty of competing voices out there like Kurt Schlichter over at our sister publication TownHall, who writes:

Here is my proposed gun control compromise following the latest attack on children that millions of us did not commit. Ready? You gun fascists can kiss my Schumer and we keep our guns.

Nobody says it like Schlicter.

You may like what McConaughey has to say, or you may believe his suggestions would infringe upon your rights. One thing is certain though, he has a powerful platform from which to speak, and he clearly wants to be part of the debate.

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