AUSTIN, Texas — Actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey expressed praise for historic gun safety legislation that was signed into law on Saturday.
In an opinion piece with KVUE’s media partners at the Austin American-Statesman, McConaughey called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act “a reasonable and holistic step towards addressing America’s gun violence epidemic.”
“This bill invests in mental health and protects responsible, law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights, due process and the rule of law,” McConaughey wrote. “For responsible gun owners, this bill does not take your guns away or restrict access to firearms. This bill will save innocent lives by keeping guns out of the law-breaking and irresponsible hands that are trying to hijack the Second Amendment.”
The actor and Austin resident highlighted the bipartisan nature of the agreement as “a shining example of a great American potential and political virtue: the act of compromise and validating an opposing viewpoint.”
“America, the Land of And. Where we have Freedom AND Responsibility, Rights AND Duties, Opportunity, AND Obligations,” McConaughey said.
Following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that left 19 students and two teachers dead, McConaughey has been outspoken about his desire to see action to address the nation’s gun laws.
Earlier this month, he shared firsthand stories from Uvalde victims’ families and spoke about gun safety and responsibility at the White House. In that speech, he said the nation needs to invest in mental health care and enforce background checks, red flag laws, waiting periods and a minimum age of 21 for purchasing AR-15 rifles.
The legislation signed by President Joe Biden on Saturday doesn't go as far as the president hoped, but he too is hailing it as progress.
In the Senate, 15 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in passing the bill – a rare moment of bipartisanship, especially on the divisive issue of guns. The Senate managed to overcome years of partisan gridlock, despite Democrats wanting more out of the bill and some Republicans feeling like the bill may go too far.
While the new legislation does not raise the age limit to purchase a weapon, the measure does include enhanced background checks for anyone under the age of 21 buying a gun. It also closes the so-called "boyfriend loophole," preventing people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns.
The new bill additionally provides federal funding for gun violence prevention programs, school security and mental health resources.
The package falls far short of President Biden's proposals, including a ban on assault-type weapons like those used in the rampages in Buffalo and Uvalde. Still, the new measures go into place immediately, as lawmakers now leave Washington for a two-week recess.
“Our government took a step in the right direction,” McConaughey concluded. “Now it’s time for us to remind them AND ourselves what the best of our country is AND can be. America, ... the Land of And. Let's go.”
To read the full article, visit the Statesman website.
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