The Incoming NRA President Blamed The Santa Fe Shooting On Everything Except Guns

by Lani Seelinger
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There have been dozens of school shootings since Columbine broke the nation's heart in 1999, and yet spokespeople for the National Rifle Association have never stopped saying guns aren't the problem. Following the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday, nothing has changed. On Sunday, incoming NRA president Oliver North responded to Santa Fe on Fox News Sunday, and he did not offer any words to show that the NRA is going to change its tune.

According to the Fox News transcript, host Chris Wallace opened his interview with North by showing clips of traumatized Santa Fe High School students and asking how North would respond to students who "have come to expect shootings in their schools."

"They shouldn't have to. They shouldn't be afraid to go to school. They shouldn't worry about the fact that they might not go home that night because some crazed person comes in with a firearm," North said, before discussing an initiative called "School Shield" that the NRA has promoted.

He claimed that the shooting would have been "far less likely" if School Shield, which according to North would assess schools and evaluate their ability to prevent people from bringing in guns, had been in place. He then went on to enumerate the reasons why he believes so many school shootings have been taking place.

"The problem that we got is we are trying like the Dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease," North began.

"And the disease in this case isn't the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence," the new NRA president continued. "They have been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male and they are young teenagers in most cases."

He then went on to explain that when he said that drugs were the problem, he meant it literally — but just a certain drug.

"And they have come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All you need to do is turn on the TV, go to a movie," North said. "If you look at what has happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten."

An ABC News report on the Santa Fe shooter did not mention whether he had ever been prescribed Ritalin or diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or narcolepsy, which according to are what Ritalin is used to treat.

"If you want to stop the carnage — look, you are not going to fix it by taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens," North went on to say. "You've got to take it away to harden the place sufficiently, that those kids are safe inside the door. If that means five metal detectors getting and out of the high school, you get five metal detectors."

Later in the interview, North also claimed that the Parkland students leading the renewed charge for gun reform were being "used" by people like former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg or billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of conservative ire. He also said that he wanted to recruit an additional one million NRA members, and that he wanted each of the six million existing NRA members to go out and recruit another person to join.

The Guardian wrote that North previously rose to national prominence as a key figure in the Iran Contra affair during the Reagan administration. He was convicted on three counts of felony for destroying government documents, accepting an illegal gratuity and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of Congress, according to the New York Times, which were later overturned on a technicality. The NRA named North as its new president earlier in May, and he will take over in a matter of weeks.