Matthew McConaughey tells the story of those killed in Uvalde in emotional plea for action on guns

(CNN)Actor Matthew McConaughey delivered impassioned and at-times emotional remarks at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, telling the stories of those who died in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and urging more action on gun control.

McConaughey, a Uvalde native, said he and his wife, Camila Alves, spent most of the past week with the families of those who were killed in his hometown. 

He showed pictures of their artwork and brought to the briefing room the green Converse shoes that one girl wore every day that were used to identify her body after the shooting. She had drawn a heart on one of the shoes.

He said he needed to tell their stories to show how action needed to be taken to honor the lives of the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School last month.

"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," McConaughey said.

He said there was now a "window of opportunity" to enact meaningful gun legislation reform and called for universal background checks, raising the minimum age for purchasing an AR-15 to 21, a waiting period for purchasing AR-15s and the implementation of red flag laws.

"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 a civil society and, and the Second Amendment," McConaughey said in a roughly 20-minute speech from the podium.

The Academy Award-winning actor met briefly with President Joe Biden before appearing at the podium, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

McConaughey spoke in great detail about the children and what dreams they held before they were killed -- one wanted to be a marine biologist, one had been preparing to read a Bible verse at church the next week, another wanted to go to art school in Paris.