In the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, there has been a renewed call for gun control measures from some politicians, celebrities and many more.
Actor Jon Voight, a Republican and staunch Donald Trump supporter, spoke out on the issue and the mass shooting in a pre-recorded speech to his social media followers on Saturday.
"We must identify every individual for their credentials for their mental capacity to bear arms, there should be proper qualifications for gun ownership and proper testing," said Voight, who posted the emotional speech on his Facebook and Twitter accounts while in front of an American flag, a regular occurrence when addressing his followers online.
"One should only own a gun if they’re qualified and schooled."
The 18-year-old Uvalde gunman legally purchased two AR-15-style rifles. Texas does not have a ban on assault-style weapons.
Texas lawmakers passed bills last year making buying and carrying a gun easier. The bills allow people in the state to carry concealed or holstered handguns without a permit. You must be 18 to purchase a handgun in Texas or a long gun, but there is no minimum age to possess firearms in the state.
The 83-year-old Voight, who rose to fame in the 1960s for his performance in "Midnight Cowboy" and had other notable films in the 1970s, including "Coming Home," a movie in which he scored an Academy Award for best actor, said his "heart bleeds for all those lost. My soul cries."
He's one of many celebrities who has addressed the mass shooting that has once again put a spotlight on gun violence in the United States. Uvalde, Texas, native Matthew McConaughey said "action must be taken." McConaughey visited Uvalde on Friday.
"We must do something about these horrors that are taken out on innocent beings, humans who each have lives and years of life that they're supposed to live," Voight said. "... They’ve been taken down by insanity."
While Voight called for those gun measures, he added: "It’s not about left, right, guns, no guns."
"This is about brains that are dysfunctioning," said Voight, the father of Angelina Jolie. "This is mental. ... We must not allow mental illness to take away our right to bear arms.
"This is about trusting the constitution, our rights, our reason."
This week, Gov. Greg Abbott, like many other Republicans, said additional gun restrictions are “not a real solution” to ending mass shootings. Rather, Abbott said state leaders should focus on improving school safety and mental health care. Abbott said earlier in the week “there was no known mental health history of the gunman” and no “meaningful forewarning of this crime.”
Voight concluded by saying "may God watch over all and bring comfort for this loss which may never heal for each child was so precious a gift."
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Jon Voight says proper gun qualifications needed after Texas shooting