In an emotional appearance at the White House briefing room on Tuesday, actor Matthew McConaughey made an emotional appeal for greater gun control measures, at once evoking anguish and hope.

McConaughey, who has starred in movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, is a native of the small town.

The actor and his wife Camila Alves reportedly spent a good bit of last week in the southern city visiting with families who lost loved ones during the massacre. As McConaughey stood at the White House podium, he showed members of the press artwork that some of the young victims had drawn before their untimely deaths. He wanted to tell their stories and show that their lives had value.

You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for? What every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children’s dreams to live on. That they want their children’s dreams to continue, to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter

He asked for officials to change the current gun laws and stressed the importance of universal background checks, waiting periods before purchasing assault rifles, red flag laws and increasing the minimum age that a person would be allowed to buy a firearm.

Sources say his speech lasted nearly 20 minutes. “These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states, communities, schools and homes. Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back — they’re a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment,” McConaughey passionately said.