NRA president blames Santa Fe school shooting on Ritalin

Oliver North thinks the solution is 5 metal detectors for each schools, not action on guns.

Incoming NRA President Oliver North
Incoming NRA President Oliver North on Fox News Sunday. CREDIT: Fox screenshot

The Santa Fe, Texas school where a gunman killed nine students and a teacher on Friday was a highly secure facility, with award-winning security preparations and two armed guards patrolling the hallways. But the National Rifle Association’s new incoming president, Oliver North, does not think it was secure enough. And he thinks the underlying problem is that too many boys are on Ritalin.

On Fox News Sunday, North proposed that rather than do anything about the one thing that separates America from all the countries that don’t have frequent school mass shootings, the nation should instead simply invest in a lot of metal detectors.

He proudly claimed that the NRA offers schools a free “School Shield” consultation to tell local officials how to best protect school entrances and exits, and how many armed security guards the schools should hire. He also urged that schools should have metal detectors, like airports do.

“There was no way to detect a firearm being brought into the building [at Santa Fe High School],” North observed. Host Chris Wallace asked if he was suggesting a metal detector at the entrance to every school in America, for millions of kids.


“If you want to stop the carnage, look, you’re not gonna fix it by taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. You’ve got to fix it in a way that hardens the place sufficiently that those kids are safe inside the door. If that means five metal detectors getting in and out of the high school, you get five metal detectors,” North answered.

“The problem we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease. And the disease, in this case, isn’t the Second Amendment,” North said without evidence. “The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence, they’ve been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male and they’re young teenagers in most cases.”

“Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” North claimed. “Now I’m certainly not a doctor, I’m a marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening and endangering those two gals.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 15 percent of males and 6.7 percent of females have ADHD, for which Ritalin is a commonly prescribed drug.


North cited no source for this odd connection claim, though the theory has been making its way through Scientology and far-right websites.  But an October 2000 report by the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, the Department of Education, and the National Institute of Justice largely debunked this theory. In looking at school shootings, they found: “Few of the attackers had been diagnosed with any mental disorder prior to the incident. Additionally, fewer than 1/3 of the attackers had histories of drug or alcohol abuse.”

Though 100 percent of the school shooters had access to guns, North believes this is not part of the disease.