Republican Representative James Lankford, the fifth-ranking Republican in the House, met with his constituents in Oklahoma City earlier this week and was asked about his views on gun violence. Lankford laid the blame on the feet of the children of “welfare moms” who have committed fraud.
The exchange went like this, according to Think Progress:
CONSTITUENT: My question is regarding the guns and is Washington at all aware of the psychotropic drugs that these children are taking? I guarantee it 100 percent that’s our big problem. [...]
LANKFORD: I agree with that. I think there’s a bunch of issues that, quite frankly, most liberals are afraid to talk about. [...] Where are we on all those psychiatric drugs? We’ve overmedicated kids. Quite frankly some of the overmedication of kids are because welfare moms want to get additional benefits and if they can put them on SSI through maintenance drugs, they can also put them on Social Security disability and get a separate check. That is wrong on every single level. Not only is it fraudulent to the government, but it also tells a kid with great potential, “don’t try because you’re disabled.”
Think Progress also did a breakdown of the numbers in order to discredit the statement made by Lankford. They showed that in 2011, the Inspector General’s office opened up 4,600 fraud cases related to Social Security disability programs. The number of people who are committing the type of fraud described by Lankford is a tiny fraction of that overall number. Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 people are gunned down in an average year. These numbers call into question whether Lankford’s comments can be taken seriously on any level.
The Republican party has been hesitant to blame the guns themselves for the violence seen over the last few months. The National Rifle Association has made it a point to address the issues of mental health and entertainment influence in order to steer the topic away from guns.
Watch the exchange with Representative James Lankford right here: