Entertainment Movies Matthew McConaughey Calls for Change After School Shooting in Texas Hometown: 'We Must Do Better' Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey is speaking out about the elementary school shooting that left 19 students and two adults dead By Dave Quinn Dave Quinn Instagram Twitter Dave Quinn is an Editor for PEOPLE, working across a number of verticals including the Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 25, 2022 08:40 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Matthew McConaughey shared an emotional message on social media after Tuesday's tragic shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas. The 52-year-old actor and father of three was among those calling for change after the attack at Robb Elementary School, where a 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 students, a teacher and another adult. "As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas," McConaughey wrote. "Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us." Texas School Shooting Leaves 21 Dead Including 19 Children and 2 Adults He went on to channel the outrage of a nation in mourning. For more on the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. "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 neighborhood tomorrow?' he wrote. "We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo." "As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it's time we re-evaluate, and renegotiate our wants from our needs," he continued. "We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children's issue." Uvalde is a small city of about 16,000 residents, approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. McConaughey lived there until he was 11 years old, before moving with his family to Longview. Tuesday's tragedy is the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, one in a string of heartbreaking shootings that have devastated Americans. In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S., surpassing motor vehicle crashes, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. In his message, McConaughey — who considered a run for Texas governor last year, and has spoken out in the past about stricter gun laws — said that politicians must put their differences aside and come together to enact change. Texas Hospitals Seek Blood Donations After School Shooting That Killed 15, Including 14 Children "This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better," he wrote. "We must 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." The Oscar winner ended his by expressing sympathy to the victims' families. "To those who dropped their loved ones off to school not knowing that today was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss," he said, adding, "but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming." Noam Galai/Getty Images President Joe Biden Addresses Shooting at Texas Elementary School: 'I Am Sick and Tired of It' McConaughey is one of many who has spoken out about the shooting since the news broke on Tuesday. One of the most impassioned messages came from President Joe Biden, who has already ordered flags in the country to be moved to half mast. "As a nation, we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to gun lobbying? When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut that needs to be done?" the president said, recalling some of the deadliest mass shootings at schools across the country in the last decade, including the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "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. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common sense gun laws," he continued. "When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled. Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases. "The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong. What in God's name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? It's just sick. "Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God's name is our backbone?" President Biden later added. "We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it's time to act. It's time for those who've delayed or blocked the common sense gun laws, we need to let you know — we will not forget. We can do so much more. We have to do more."