Matthew McConaughey: New gun law will save innocent lives from those hijacking 2nd Amendment

The bipartisan gun bill isn’t perfect, but it is a shining example of the act of compromise and validating an opposing viewpoint.

Matthew McConaughey
Opinion contributor

For the first time in 28 years, a meaningful piece of legislation has passed that can usher in a new era of building an American Culture of Gun Responsibility.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a reasonable and holistic step toward 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.

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.

Responsible gun ownership

This bill is a responsible investment in the future of our country and in America’s greatest asset, our children.

This bill makes those whose lives have been needlessly cut short by gun violence matter.

This bill is about more responsible gun ownership in America.

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After meeting with President Joe Biden, actor Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas, talks to reporters at the White House on June 07, 2022.

The school shooting tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, last month ignited bipartisan conversations that created responsible actions by members from both parties. Members made the right and difficult choice – action – over the easy choice – inaction.

By coming together and finding a sensible balance, a bipartisan group of lawmakers passed a bill that will help solve a problem we all agree is unbearable.

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While this bill isn’t perfect, it is a shining example of a great American potential and political virtue: the act of compromise and validating an opposing viewpoint.

This is a quintessential virtue of America, where two seemingly contradictory approaches to the same problem can be true at the same time AND, when combined, actually reveal a more useful and powerful solution than either on its own.

America, the Land of And

Where we have freedom AND responsibility, rights AND duties, opportunity AND obligations.

A memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, honors the 19 children and two teachers slain in a shooting massacre May 24.

Yes, we have a mental health issue in our country that we need to address, AND we need to create guardrails to keep guns out of irresponsible hands.

Both are true. Neither is mutually exclusive. The success of one even relies on our responsibility to the other.

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This bill is an example of the bipartisan meeting of the minds and hearts that can lead us to reclaim true democracy in America.

This bill is a representation and reminder that no single party is democracy itself. No single party is America itself, AND no single party in American politics has the claim to independently own the values by which they define themselves.

Republicans and Democrats don’t have a license on the “values” they often posture themselves as owning. Values are free trade, there to share and bring to bear for all of us.

To heal and save our democracy, we need to apply these same bipartisan efforts to countless other issues. Only then can we become the America we’re capable of becoming.

Responsible families, neighbors and business leaders

Now that the president has signed this bill into law, I want to remind all of us Americans that we cannot become complacent and wait on a piece of legislation to solve our problems.

We each have a call to action as well. This legislation gives us guardrails, but we cannot solely rely on it to be responsible for US. We have to be responsible for IT.

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We each have a duty to protect our freedom AND our rights. We also each have an opportunity to make more responsible choices as we move forward. Ones that serve others AND ourselves. Let’s each and all have a look in the mirror and make those choices that are on us, and only us.

The choice to be the best parent or mentor possible.

The choice to get involved in the lives of others in our community.

The choice, as business leaders, to change policies in our workspaces to make them safer.

The choice, as gun owners, gun show organizers and firearms manufacturers to bear, show and sell arms responsibly. Now is the time to build our American Culture of Gun Responsibility – AND build a healthier nation by being more personally responsible families, neighbors and business leaders.

We are each in a position to lead in this great country we call America: Where I have the freedom to be me, you have the freedom to be you AND we all have a responsibility to be us.

Our government took a step in the right direction. 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.

A native of Uvalde, Texas, who now lives in Austin, Matthew McConaughey is founder of the just keep livin Foundation and a father of three. He wrote this for the USA TODAY Network's Austin American-Statesman.