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article imageHouse GOP leader blames gun violence on 'welfare moms'

By Brett Wilkins     Jan 24, 2013 in Politics
The fifth-highest ranking Republican member of the US House of Representatives blamed America's epidemic of gun violence on psychotropic drugs and "welfare moms" who commit Social Security fraud.
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) was meeting with some of his constituents earlier this month when he made his eyebrow-raising remarks. ThinkProgress obtained a video of Q and A exchange between Lankford and a woman from his district who placed the blame for gun violence on psychotropic medications like Prozac, Zoloft and Wellbutrin.
Here's the video and text of the exchange:
Constituent: "My question is regarding the guns, and is Washington aware of all the psychotropic drugs that these children are taking? I guarantee it 100 percent that's our big problem."
Rep. Lankford: "I agree with that. I think there's a bunch of issues that, quite frankly, most liberals are afraid to talk about... We're overmedicating 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 [Supplemental Security Income] 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.'"
There are more than 31,000 gun-related deaths each year in the United States, more than 11,000 of which are homicides. There were around 4,600 cases of Social Security disability fraud investigated in 2011.
In the few weeks since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, at least 13 children under the age of 13 have been shot to death. Five of them either shot themselves or were shot by other children, negating Lankford's 'welfare mom' and drug hypotheses. One was struck by a stray bullet. Again, nothing to do with welfare or drugs. Three were killed by their own parents, either accidentally or, in two cases, in murder-suicides. Yet again, Lankford's conjecture appears highly dubious at best.
More about welfare moms, rep james lankford, Gun violence, Psychotropic drugs, Welfare fraud
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