The incoming president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver North, in a Sunday morning interview, blamed the nation’s spate of deadly school shootings — including Friday’s massacre at a Texas high school — on a “culture of violence,” and students being “drugged up” on prescription medication.
“The disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment, the disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence. They’ve been drugged in many cases,” North said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
North, a former Marine lieutenant colonel involved in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, cited the use of Ritalin, a drug frequently prescribed to students grappling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“We are trying like the dickens to treat the symptoms, not the disease,” North said.
His remarks came days after a 17-year-old shooter opened fire on his classmates at Santa Fe High School, killing 10 people and injuring 13 others. The gunman also reportedly placed explosive devices throughout the school.
On the Sunday talk shows, the shooting spurred Democratic lawmakers to renew their calls for stricter gun control laws, while Republicans called for arming teachers and increasing security at schools.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said teachers need to be armed and parents held accountable for securing firearms at home. The Santa Fe shooter reportedly used his father’s legally obtained handgun and rifle to kill his schoolmates.
“Be sure that your kids and grandkids or anyone who might have access to your home cannot get your guns,” Patrick told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Patrick said the country’s mass shootings were due to a variety of factors including bullying and students being “desensitized” by violent video games.
“Should we be surprised in this nation? We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families or violent movies and particularly violent video games, which now outsell movies and music,” Patrick said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Patrick, a Republican, repeated his support for arming school teachers — a position endorsed by President Donald Trump, who in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in February, proposed training teachers to use guns to respond to school shooters.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said it was “unspeakable” that students continued to face the threat of gun violence at their schools, and faulted the NRA, the powerful gun lobbying group, with derailing efforts to pass stricter gun control laws.
“It’s the NRA, and it’s Trump and the Republicans who don’t have the guts to stand up to these people,” Sanders said.
Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut turned gun-control activist, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said he supported calls to bolster security at school entrances, but also argued those measures would fall short without laws that “at the same time make sure that that irresponsible person can’t get the gun in the first place.”
Kelly, whose wife former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured in a 2011 attack that killed six others, said he supports legislation that would require parents to lock up their firearms.