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Actor Matthew McConaughey’s Gun-Grabbing Speech at the White House Big on Emotions, Short on Solutions

On Tuesday, the White House briefing devoted more than 20 minutes to drumming up support for the assault on gun rights. The “weapon” they employed for the exercise involved actor Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is a skilled and well-known actor, whose films are enjoyed by many. McConaughey also has family connections to Uvalde, TX, where the elementary school shooting took place. It's likely that his acting experience and ties with Uvalde have made McConaughey take an extreme side, even if he is not the only one competent enough to establish guidelines for gun-control policies for the entire nation.

McConaughey's time at the White House press briefing lectern was interesting and perhaps even effective in convincing the mushy middle and go-along-to-get-along Vichy Republicans to abandon the Second Amendment. Certain Fox News presenters tripped over themselves to proclaim it to be an indication that we've entered the “new moment” during which gun users and law-abiding gun owners will fulfill the prophecy contained in Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

There were two components to McConaughey's talk. The specific ideas detailed in his USA Today (do real people, not just hotel or motel owners, read this newspaper?) op-ed call for gun “responsibility” following the tragedy in Uvalde. The key issues are the same outdated material that has been going on for twenty or more decades.

  • Background checks.
  • If you are not in the military, you must be at least 21 years old in order to buy a modern sporting rifle.
  • “Red flag” laws should be in the national interest.
  • A national waiting time for buying modern rifles for sport.

Background checks are already required to purchase firearms and have been for about 20 years. Why do we let people vote at the age of 18 but not provide them with the ability to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship? Since it is possible to join the Armed Forces at 17, could that constitute an exception? 

Red Flag laws are an invitation to abuse. McConaughey is aware of this through his demand for “consequences” for false claims. This is a shady tactic. If someone is ever penalized for not proving a Red Flag claim, politicians and the media will get riled up regarding “chilling” the right to make a report. Do you think that anyone who is subject to a Red Flag order will ever receive their guns? What judge will be willing to risk removing the order to confiscate the individual’s guns and having the person go out and murder somebody? We have already had a waiting period to purchase modern rifles for sport. You must undergo a background check after the payment method has been accepted.

In other words, there was nothing innovative, useful, acceptable, or relevant in these sales pitches. It was typical S2D2. The lines were carefully rehearsed and expertly recited. However, this was exactly the same nonsense that has one goal: to gradually eliminate the rights of any person other than a celebrity's bodyguard to have a gun.

To show respect towards conservatives, McConaughey offered up kind words about the values of family, mom, apple pie, and family. While these are the most effective solutions to the issue, he provided no ideas on the best way to achieve them, leading to the view that these are just empty platitudes scattered about to confuse the yoke. The principal reason for this presentation was a logic error; call it the “Appeal to Emotion.” This speech was evidently closely coordinated by McConaughey and the Oval Office, since Joey SoftServe used a similar example just a few days ago. McConaughey used “common sense” and “responsible” as cudgels. If you signed on to his baby steps to the confiscation of guns, you are guilty; if you refused the idea, then you are not.

Actors have the same right to form opinions as all of us do. Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, and Sissy Spacek testified at a Senate hearing about the dire situation that the American farm family faces since they all played farmers’ wives. McConaughey has been known as a vocal advocate for a ban on modern rifles for sport. What follows is a portion of the speech that he delivered at the 2018 March for Our Lives.

“I'm here because of a myriad of reasons right now. One reason is that I'm an American citizen. Another reason is that I'm an affluent as well as a happy Texan,” he began. “The third is I believe in the work that the March for Our Lives is trying to accomplish here. I am convinced of the tenets of what they're doing here. Most important, I'm here because I'm a husband and a father.”

Although the Texas native said the gun debate is not about suggesting that firearms be removed from lawful citizens, the Texan did admit that there is an “epidemic” happening around the nation. “I'm in this place to not discuss politics. I'm not an elected official. As with many from the south and most of us at Austin, Texas and all throughout our state, we grew up hunting. We killed deer, ate venison, and we proudly displayed the horns of our homes. But I'd like to be certain that the march today does not aim to revoke the right of legally-abiding American citizens to guns or own their own. Let's get it straight.”

He concluded, “At the same time, let's acknowledge that we're suffering from an epidemic in the United States at the moment that we have to treat. For those who are responsible and legal American gun owners who are citizens, [it] is the time to come together. It's time to join the game, it's time to stand up to the plate and assist in healing our nation.”

McConaughey has called for the banning of assault weapons for civilians as well as closing any loopholes that exist in the current background check system. “One, let's get rid of assault weapons used by civilians. This is an easy decision. For my friends out there who own responsible weapons they carry for fun, consider taking one for our team and take it off. This issue can save people's lives. Number two, we should limit the capacity of magazines. Take a look at Texas, the State of Texas. We have a limit of three shells per hunt [for] the migratory birds. Take a look at the math. I'm sure you get my point. The third one, let's better regulate the background checks that are already in place and close the loopholes that exist in those background checks.”

Naturally, the actor couldn't help but include his signature line in his speech. “Now, those are the three main stipulations, and for those three, I can say it, you can say it with me: alright, alright, alright.”

McConaughey ended his speech with a reminder that gun regulation affects everyone, not just gun owners. “This concerns an American issue. It's a Texan issue. It's a legal, law-abiding gun owner's issue. It's a mother's issue. It's a father's issue… It's our children's problem. My wish is that we reach a common understanding in what I consider an extremely commonsense problem. This is an issue that is anchored to a purpose that is shared by everyone. It's not tied to politics; it's anchored by a  goal. God bless and just keep living.”

If you watch clips of his speech, you'll notice that McConaughey has been playing the part, using the same accent, for at most four years. It is possible to let actors dictate your intellectual content and policy, but who wants to? We do not need an actor who promotes gun-control groups acting as a “down-home, good-guy Texan who, except for the millions of dollars and fame, loves guns and the Second Amendment, but, by gosh, can't we just have a little responsibility and common sense in giving up your rights for no measurable effect.” When we begin the path of gun confiscation, there's no stopping it. However, much of the conservative media is spouting about the guy's agenda. It is not based on any common sense or accountability, just like it was not on Betao O'Rourke. Don't bother us with your “Common-Sense Gun-Grabbing Tips.” We’re not playing the game.

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