Tuesday, the White House briefing devoted over 20 minutes to ginning up support for an assault on gun rights. The tool they used for this exercise was Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is a talented (I guess) and well-regarded (I suppose) actor. I’ve seen two of his films and enjoyed them both. McConaughey is also a native of Uvalde, TX. Presumably, being an actor and a native of Uvalde made McConaughey superbly, if not uniquely, qualified to set gun control policy for the nation.
McConaughey’s time at the White House press briefing room 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. I say that because some of the hosts on Fox News were tripping over themselves to declare it a sign that we have entered a “new moment” where gun grabbers and law-abiding gun owners can realize the prophecy found in Isaiah 11:6.
There were two parts to McConaughey’s speech. The specific proposals, he spelled out in a USA Today (do real people, other than hotel/motel residents, read this paper?) op-ed, and were covered by my colleague Bob Hoge’s post titled Matthew McConaughey Op-Ed Calls for Gun ‘Responsibility’ After Uvalde. The basic points are the same tired, old stuff that has been around for 20 or more years.
- Background checks.
- Unless in the military, must be 21 years old to purchase a modern sporting rifle.
- “Red flag” laws should be national.
- National waiting period for purchasing modern sporting rifles.
We have background checks for purchasing firearms and have for about 20 years. I don’t understand why we allow people to vote at 18 and not allow them the full benefit of citizenship…and you can enlist in the Armed Forces at 17; would that be an exception? Red Flag laws are an invitation to abuse. McConaughey recognizes this by his call for “consequences” for false claims. This is just dishonest (I say that because I don’t think McConaughey is blindingly stupid). If anyone is ever punished for making a false Red Flag claim, politicians and the media will go ballistic about “chilling” the right to report. Does anyone think anyone subject to a Red Flag order will ever get their guns back? What judge will take the risk of removing the gun-grabbing order and have the person go out and kill someone? We already have a waiting time for purchasing modern sporting rifles. You have to get a background check, and your payment method has to be accepted.
In short, I didn’t hear anything new, workable, or acceptable in the sales pitch. It was the quintessential S2D2. The lines were well-rehearsed and skilfully recited, but it was the same crap that has one objective, gradually destroy the right of anyone other than a celebrity bodyguard to own a firearm.
As a nod to conservatives, McConaughey threw in kind words for family values, Mom, and apple pie. While I think that those are the real solutions for the problem, he offered no policy ideas for how to accomplish those, which leads to the conclusion that those are just bullsh** platitudes strewn about to confuse the yokels.
Matthew McConaughey: “We need to invest in mental healthcare. We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values. And we need responsible gun ownership.” pic.twitter.com/FKIbpUVVSW
Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 7, 2022
The main point of the presentation was a logical fallacy, the Appeal to Emotion.
Listen to Matthew McConaughey on the need for gun reform.
“These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting.” pic.twitter.com/ML9Bi1CHmp
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 7, 2022
Matthew McConaughey: “These bodies were very different… They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them.” pic.twitter.com/ARz3wBcxYN
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 7, 2022
This speech had obviously been closely coordinated between McConaughey and the Oval Office, as Joey SoftServe used one of the same examples four days ago.
“The damage is so devastating. In Uvalde, parents had to do DNA swabs to identify the remains of their children – nine and 10-year old-children. Enough!” https://t.co/0UCrZLkz30
— Nicola Smith (@niccijsmith) June 3, 2022
McConaughey also used “common sense” and “responsible” like a cudgel. If you signed up for his baby steps toward gun confiscation, you were both; if you resist, then you were neither.
Actors have the same right to form opinions as any of us. I remember watching Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, and Sissy Spacek testifying before a Senate hearing on the plight of the American farm family because they had all portrayed farm wives. Great insights, as I recall it (just joking). McConaughey has, in the past, advocated for a ban on modern sporting rifles. Here is coverage of his headlining speech at the 2018 March for Our Lives.
“I’m here for many reasons today. One of them is because I’m an American citizen, another of them is that I’m a lifelong and proud Texan,” he began. “Third one is that I do believe in what the March for Our Lives is trying to do here. I believe in the hallmarks of what they are trying to do here. But most importantly, I’m here because I’m a husband and I’m a father.”
While the Texan-native stressed that he is not suggesting guns be taken away from law-abiding citizens, he did acknowledge the “epidemic” happening around the country.
“I’m not here to talk about politics. I’m not a politician. Now like many of you from the south and many of us here in Austin, Texas and all around our great state, we grew up hunting. We killed a deer, eaten venison, we proudly mounted the horns on our walls,” he said. “But I want to be clear that today’s march is not about taking away the rights of the law-abiding American citizens to buy own and bear arms. Let’s be clear about that.”
He added: “At the same time let’s admit that we have an epidemic in our country right now that we need to fix. And those of us who are legal and responsible American citizen gun owners, it’s time to join hands. It’s time to get into the arena it’s time to step up to the line and help heal our country.”
McConaughey called for banning assault weapons for civilians and closing loopholes in the current background check system.
“One, let’s ban the assault weapons for civilians. This is a no-brainer. And to my friends out there that are responsible owners of these recreational assault weapons that they use for recreation, please let’s just take one for the team here and set it down. That issue saves lives,” he said. “Number two, let’s restrict the capacity of the magazines. Look here: in the state of Texas, we have a three shell limit to hunt migratory birds. Do the math. You get my point.”
“The third one,” he continued. “Let’s better regulate the background checks that are already in place and close the loopholes that exist in those background checks.”
And of course, the actor couldn’t help but include his signature line 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 concluded his speech with a reminder that the issue of gun regulation affects everyone — not just gun owners.
“This is an American issue. It’s a Texan issue. It’s a legal and law-abiding gun owner issue. It’s a mother issue. It’s a father issue. And, quite literally, this is our children’s issue,” he said. “My hope here is that we can find a common ground on what I see as a very much a commonsense issue. This is an issue anchored in purpose for all of us. It’s not anchored in politics it’s anchored in purpose.”
“God bless and just keep living.”
Here are some clips from that speech. Watch today’s performance, and you can see McConaughey has been playing this role, using a lot of the same inflection, for at least four years.
— Mary Huber (@marymhuber) March 24, 2018
— Texas⚾️Baseball⚾️Chase⚾️ (@chasekaracostas) March 24, 2018
— Spectrum News 1 Texas (@SpectrumNews1TX) March 24, 2018
You may let actors provide your policy and intellectual content; I choose not to. I don’t need an actor who shills for gun control groups by playing the role of a “down-home, good guy Texan who, except for the millions of dollars and fame, who 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.” Once we start down the road to gun confiscation, there is no end. No matter how much allegedly conservative media are slobbering over this guy, his agenda has nothing to do with common sense or responsibility, and my answer is the same to him as it is to Bet
ao O’Rourke: Don’t Bother Me With Your ‘Common Sense’ Gun-Grabbing Ideas, I’m Not Playing the Game.