RFK Jr comes out against gun control and blames school shootings on ‘drugs’

Experts say there’s no link between pharmaceutical drugs and mass shootings

Ariana Baio,Josh Marcus
Tuesday 06 June 2023 02:03 BST
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Watch moment Robert F Kennedy Jr launches presidential bid

Democratic presidential candidate and anti-vaccine advocate Robert F Kennedy Jr said during a Twitter Spaces event on Monday that he would not take away people’s guns as a solution to reducing mass shootings and instead pointed the finger at pharmaceutical drugs.

“My position on the gun control is I’m not going to take away anybody’s guns,” Mr Kennedy, 69, said in response to a listener-submitted question about gun control while speaking about his political platform with Elon Musk and venture capitalist David Sacks. “I’m a constitutional absolutist. We can argue about whether the Second Amendment was intended to protect guns. That argument has now been settled by the Supreme Court.”

Instead, Mr Kennedy made unfounded claims that psychiatric drugs are linked to mass shootings,

“There’s something happening in our country right now that is not happening anywhere, that has never happened in human history,” he said.

“Guns, the proliferation, clearly, abets violence, but anybody who tells you that they can remove enough guns, AR-15s, by tinkering at the margins and get to the situation they have in western Europe is puling your leg,” he added. “It’s not going to happen.”

According to researchers, there’s no evidence for a link between pharmaceutical drugs and mass shootings.

Over 10 per cent of the US population takes anti-depressants, and experts say if such medicines were linked to violence, one would expect to see more shootings, and more shootings committed by groups who are prescribed the treatments at a higher rate.

"If there was a connection or link, one would expect it to be pronounced, or at least much greater than we are seeing," Dr James Knoll, director of forensic psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, told Politifact. "Why do we not see increased violence in women? People over 60?"

In fact, according to a USA Today review of mass shootings, a minority of school shooters were prescribed medications.

"I am unaware of any consistent, credible accounts that provide strong evidence regarding the prevalence of SSRI usage in cases involving school shootings or a causal relationship between SSRIs and school shootings," Daniel Mears, a professor of criminology at Florida State University, told the paper.

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