December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Tim Scott points to 'moral decay' after school shooting

(CNN) - Republican Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the new appointee to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, indicated Wednesday he may oppose any gun control legislation in the Senate next Congress, saying instead the larger issue is one of "moral decay."

"I think the solutions are not necessarily in new legislation. Perhaps the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past that have had the desire to create the atrocities we have seen recently," he said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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He added that "mental illness should be a major part of the conversation."

Several Democratic senators and the president have underscored a renewed sense of urgency on gun control legislation in the wake of last week's Connecticut school shooting that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children. Among those voicing a call for change are a few conservative Democrats who have good standing with the National Rifle Association, signaling the latest dust-up over gun rights may translate into actual policy changes.

In addition to addressing mental illness, the South Carolina congressman, who starts in the Senate on January 3 after DeMint officially resigns, said the recent crisis should prompt the country "to engage an entire culture of moral decay and of violence."

But as Washington looks for solutions, Scott cautioned that if conclusions are drawn quickly, they may be "flawed."

"I know that we've heard lots of conversations about what we'll be facing in the 113th Congress," he said. "I look forward to that debate."

Scott, a favorite in the tea party movement, was elected to the House in 2010. He'll fill the remainder of DeMint's term, and signaled through a fundraising email Tuesday night that he'll likely run to keep his seat in 2014.

Filed under: Gun rights • South Carolina • Tim Scott
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. JustSaying

    Whenever conservatives speak of "moral decay" they mean everyone else but themselves. Take a look at yourselves and ask how profit outweighs the safety of children.

    December 19, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. mcskadittle

    so they want to increase spending on health care to cover this?

    December 19, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Marie MD

    Tea trollspeaking about mental illness how utterly appropriate! Been to Texas lately?
    Sounds like he is ready to go against everything already.

    December 19, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. ronny

    "I think the solutions are not necessarily in new legislation. Perhaps the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past that have had the desire to create the atrocities we have seen recently,"

    Says the guy whose party opposes universal healthcare.

    December 19, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. rs

    The so-called "Moral decay" TEA PARTY baffoons like Scott talk about is clearly displayed by their relgiion of the gun. People who worship tools of death are deeply sick individuals.

    Has it occurred to them that maybe Reagan's idea of closing asylums and turning the sick people out on the street wasn't so smart? Maybe denying people access to mental health isn't so smart?

    These people are just kooks.

    December 19, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Oh good, another right wingnut. I wonder if the shootings in churches and mosques are a result of taking religion out of those places. The News Press in Fort Myers reported automatic weapons sales are up, as they always go up when the price of happy hour drinks are about to increase.

    December 19, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    He's an party hack. Check.

    Perhaps Mr. Scott needs to examine the moral decay and denial of the gun owners. All of these illegal weapons on the streets had to come from somewhere, folks. Gun owners initially purchased them, not the anti-gun advocates. While most gun owners are law abiding people, there exists a segment of gun purchasers who are out to make profit and do so handsomely thanks to the relaxed laws in so many states. The problem is that law abiding gun owners do not see law breaking gun purchases as a problem.

    We need "gun owner control" legislation because they have demonstrated that they are unwilling and incapable of self discipline.

    December 19, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Russ

    Yep, that will work. Address mental illness. To start with his party wants limit health care which will include mental health so the ones most needing diagnosed most likely will go unnoticed. So this idiot thinks it is so much easier to pick out a mental person and guess which ones will be violent rather than take away the guns. What a worthless stance on the issue. Get real Senator your ideas have long been tested and failed. Thank you Tea Party for electing another "NO" person to congress.

    December 19, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    We'll work the "moral decay" issue after we first get assault weapons away from the hands of the "decayed" - which given the GOP mindset these days should definitely include them.

    December 19, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    This is not the time to talk of morality, nor ethics–which congress lacks both. Time to ask vehemently to draft the GUN-CONTROL LAW AND OBAMA NEEDS TO SIGN ON THIS. Period.
    PS: precious little ones died. Just think of them, their moms, dads, uncles, aunts.

    December 19, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Perhaps the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past that have had the desire to create the atrocities we have seen recently,""

    Right, because nobody has been doing that for decades. Maybe we should create a new profession that does research and helps treat mental problems...we can call them....hmmmmmm...psychologists? Or maybe psychiarists? Only then will we be able to understand what's gone wrong. Right now though, we have absolutely no information about the patterns and causes and motivations, etc., involved in these incidents. None. It's liek we're working completely in the dark. Clearly, we need to make sure there are as few gun laws as possible for at least the next 50 years while these new professionals we're going to create build up a body of research and information.

    This Scott guy is a real thinker. What fun he's going to be for me.

    December 19, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. plain&simple

    "To engage an entire culture of moral decay and of violence" .....To " engage"???? What is he talking about? Are we this culture? What's his reasoning? To many violent vedio games? To much violence in movies and tv? Not enough programs to help or identify the mentally ill.? Families with both parents having to work to make enough money to live on? To many children being home schooled? Today our country is paying we are moving towards a goal that has become a priority!!! When we realize there is a problem it is our collective responsibility to begin to rectify it. The balance has shifted and the work has begun and now IS the time.!!!

    December 19, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. The REAL Truth...

    OK, so now the GOP wants to legislate morality instead of guns???.. n-i-c-e..... REAL nice!

    December 19, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. nothing new here

    I agree 200% that something needs to be done about the mental health crisis in this country.
    But this comment is coming from a Tea Party rock start, that wants to channel billions into endless wars and marijuana regulations.
    I wish these people would practice what they preach. Put the money into helping people better their lives, and not finding more and more ways to incarcerate people and ruin their records and their self-esteem.

    December 19, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. ultralance12

    I think a good portion of the population wants you guys to look very hard at the mental health aspect but please do not dismiss all new proposed gun regulation just because it is gun regulation.

    December 19, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Al-NY,NY

    and what, exactly is "moral decay?" Is that GOP code for "those others that don't make religion the basis for everything they do?" Is it those who don't try to make everyone adhere to THEIR beliefs on social issues and condemn those as sinners?

    December 19, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Derek

    So, it's about mental health. It's about the "culture of moral decay and of violence." But, not about the guns and gun culture? That can't even be in the conversation?

    December 19, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Cal

    No doubt about moral decay but thats not what liberals want to target. Notice they completely ignored "guns" when Fast and Furious when our border patrolman Brian Terry was killed. At this point no productive conversations are occuring and it only gets worse when we look at all the beautiful children that were killed. Its does not matter your ideology is we all feel it. As a father of four kids and two that were adopted from far away places emotions run deep.

    December 19, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. GuestAgain

    Right on the money! The liberalization of our society has its downfalls. When faith, mutual respect, personal responsibility and work ethic are shunned in favor of "I'm gonna get mine" this is what happens. On another note, what is additional mental health care going to do to the already absurd, and largely undefined, costs of the ACA??

    December 19, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Just a thought

    and you know what "Re-thuglican Senator in waiting" SHOULD NOT discount the decay in the GOP/Tea Potty party of fools. Our country is under attack from the new American Taliban...a party of political terrorist that are bent on this country's failure.

    December 19, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Phyllis G Williams

    "Children need to be told from birth as my parents did, that Heaven and Earth are given free of cost to those who LOVE-
    (Revelation 21: 7) and those who Hate go to Hell, the Lake of Fire – (Revelation 20: 12-15)." Rich Man in Hell 'I have 5 brethren tell "them, lest they also come into this place of torment" (Luke 16: 28). It's the heart of man that murders, not guns.

    December 19, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Thomas

    Tim Scott or Rick Scott ,

    Tea "moral decay."

    December 19, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. sonny chapman

    Repubs. want to talk about Moral Deacay. They could start by denouncing Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Anne Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck. Not for WHAT they say, but HOW they say it. The Right thinks it's OK to be rude, belittle, call unpatriotic & demonize all those who hold views different from their ideologue/theology, including the duly elected President of the United States, the Country they claim to love so dearly, but would rather hurt the Middle Class than reexamine their viewpoints. Repubs. might also stop running such divisive political campaigns based on Wedge Issues & playing to the fears of disengaged voters. OR, just start LIVING the Christian Song, "Let There be Peace on Earth & Let It Begin With Me."

    December 19, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Moral decay? Which is he talking about? Is that there is more acceptance of those that are different from us (Blacks and Whites marrying? Homosexuals being open about it?)? I would have hoped that he talked about the corporations and the hugely wealthy out there going for greed rather than helping the poor. There is corruption in the way many corporations operate as well. If he doesn't consider that moral decay, then there is something wrong with him.

    December 19, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. CBR

    I cannot believe that Mr. Scott does not know about all the young people being killed every day. The alarming frequency of youth against youth killings occur almost daily. If the guns were not so readily available and so easy to purchase perhaps they would not be able to pull a trigger.

    December 19, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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