Actor Matthew McConaughey issued a statement in reaction to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, in his hometown Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos allegedly opened fire killing 18 children and three adults while injuring many more before he was killed by responding officers. 

The actor, in his reply to the incident, offered prayers to those affected by the tragedy and called on the United States to fight the gun violence epidemic. 

The 52-year-old starts his statement, saying “As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas”, adding, “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.” 

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McConaughey, who teased a Texas gubernatorial run for 2022, continued “The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, ‘What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighbourhood tomorrow?’”, adding, “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.” 

While the actor stayed away from directly bringing up the issue of gun control legislation in the US, he said the nation’s wave of mass shootings is “an epidemic we can control”. 

His statement concluded, “Whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.” 

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The school shooting has brought Texas gun laws into clearer focus, including the law passed in 2021, where individuals meeting certain criteria can carry handguns without licenses. 

US President Joe Biden spoke out after the incident, saying “there have been over 900 incidents of gunfire reported on school grounds… I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”