Jon Voight says Americans can’t let mental illness take away gun rights

The actor said his "soul cries" for the victims of the Uvalde school shooting

Jon Voight has called for “proper qualifications” for gun ownership and said that America “must not allow mental illness to take away our right to bear arms.”

On Tuesday (May 24), an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School, which teaches children aged seven to 10. Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that the suspect was later shot dead by responding law enforcement officials.

19 children and two teachers were killed in the attack. It marked the deadliest school shooting in the US since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting back in 2012, and is the nation’s third-deadliest school shooting in history.

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In a video titled “My Soul Cries for All Lost”, which he posted to social media on Saturday (May 28), Voight said: “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.”

“They’ve been taken down by insanity,” the Midnight Cowboy actor continued. “These beings had been bullied, and they take out their disturbances, their grief, their horror on innocent souls. It’s not about left, right. Guns, no guns. This is about brains that are dysfunctioning. This is mental.”

Authorities have said the 18-year-old gunman legally purchased the AR-15 type firearm used in the Uvalde school shooting, and a second one like it last week, just after his birthday. According to the Associated Press, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter had no known criminal or mental health history.

Voight, who has appeared in movies such as Varsity Blues, National Treasure, Pearl HarborTransformers and many more, went on to defend gun rights in his video message.

He said that what happened was “not about healthy human beings serving the country with arms to bear or even the right of this Constitution for bearing arms. It is a right to use arms with proper purpose to defend one’s safety. We must not allow mental illness to take away our right to bear arms.”

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The actor then called out US lawmakers, adding that Americans are now living “in a world that has no remorse for wrongdoings because we’re being led by the worst in office”. Voight then suggested “there should be proper qualifications for gun ownership and proper testing”.

“One should only own a gun if they’re qualified and schooled,” he said before concluding his message: “May God watch over all and bring comfort for this loss which may never heal, for each child was so precious, a gift.”

Elsewhere, other celebrities such as Brandon FlowersTaylor Swift, Madonna, Jack White and Olivia Rodrigo have expressed their anger and called for stricter gun control laws.

“I cannot imagine the heartache and heartbreak the parents of these 19 children must feel,” Madonna wrote on social media alongside a clip from her 2019 ‘God Control’ music video.

The pop icon went on to urge lawmakers to “protect our children”, asking them to “reduce firearm access to people who are at risk of harming themselves or others”.

Meanwhile, a concert that was supposed to take place at this weekend’s National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Houston, Texas has reportedly been cancelled after its entire line-up of performers pulled out following the shooting.

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