December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
2 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. roadrunner2

    I'm surprised he didn't say it was the "Gays" fault.

    December 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Laurie in Spokane

    It's not just "moral decay" although that may be part of it. It's this economy and the lack of focus and/or direction for many young men. Forever men have been the breadwinners, dominant in our society, and firmly knew their position within the culture. Now, women do many of the things men traditionally did, which is just great, but it has displaced and confused men I think. I don't know the solution of course, but it's not just moral decay.

    December 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Jim

    There seems to be an overall thought here of "who can we blame". Republican, Democrat, Communist…does it really matter? Our government has done a GREAT job at pointing fingers and teaching its "children" to fight amongst each other so they can go unnoticed. Do you think our federal or state governments really care about each of us? NO, they care about their votes, pension, power, and $. We will fight and accomplish nothing just to be "right". Sad, but watching a country I truly love deteriorate is the saddest part. Civil war…we have done a good job of working our way there and don't even know we're doing it.

    December 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    @DaveC

    Thank you for one of the most informative posts I've read since this tragedy occurred.

    December 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Cheri E

    We live in a country of 300 million people. That means 300 million people minus about half a dozen don't go on mass murder sprees. Statistically, not sure you can demonstrate "moral decay," whatever that even means.

    December 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Chuck

    Nice Scott, now what do you do with mental illness? Glad you recognize the problem, but once again offer no solution.

    December 19, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Rick 7809

    This guy may be a clown, but "moral decay" may be part of the problem. The bigger issue is we live in a society where there is an expectation before we try and fix anything, that the fix must be the sole and final solution to the problem. violence has no singular solution, the problem is part morals, part economic, part "entertainment", part availability to guns.

    December 19, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Moral decay??? Oh! I get it. Tim Scott thinks that people get shot for the same reason conservatives think hurricanes and earthquakes...GAY PEOPLE"

    I am not so sure, Timmy is 47 and never married, maybe Nicki saw a chance to give the GOP a "two-fer"!

    But, then there is that unexplainable phenom of the Log Cabin group that apparently agree they are the essence of "moral decay".

    December 19, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Jen

    Representative Scott is right to a certain extent even though I think stricter gun controls are necessary to help stop more horrible killings like this one. The police don't even have time to get there because of the type of weapons these young men can get their hands on. Still, he is right that killings in schools didn't happen when I was young. They need to look at what these young men have in common. There seems to be somewhat of a pattern: loners, children of divorce, maybe not much parental supervision during the day, after school, or when they were growing up, maybe video games, and they don't seem to be from poor families either.

    December 19, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. rs

    roadrunner2-
    Nah- that was what Huckabee said!

    December 19, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Bald Eagle

    I could not agree more with Sen. Scott on the point of increased moral decay of the US society.....which is all the more reason we need stricter gun control so the morally decayed cannot purchase assault rifles and weapons. Not a good combination.

    December 19, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. onlylivehere

    Oh my God!
    He's not even in Congress and he sounds like many of the idiots already there.

    December 19, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. AuntMuriel

    Wright you are, Senator. Moral decay and softening of the brain.

    December 19, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. rs

    Jim-
    It isn't "the government" that doesn't care- it is the blasted politicians and the government they make.

    December 19, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. saidso

    School shootings have been going on since the 20s. It's only gotten worse because it's easier to get a hold of weapons that can kill more faster and armor that makes them nearly unstoppable. It isn't moral decay. It's the same old thing wearing new technology. :(

    December 19, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Descarado

    What would you expect from a blatantly secular culture. America is on a downward spiral. Get used to it.

    December 19, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Rick

    This "moral decay" tidbit brought to you by the same party that thought "legitimate rape" was, you know, legitimate...

    Why are some politicians and punidts lately sounding almost as crazy as the shooters?

    December 19, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. MikeB

    Let's say he's right. Let's say it is moral decay and "the mental condition of the person". That's still no reason to oppose gun control legislation. Let's take the modified military M-16 out of the hands of sick individuals and replace it with a bat, or a knife, or if it has a to be a gun, then how about a single-action 6-shot revolver.

    December 19, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Tanner E.

    You wanna talk about "moral decay"? Moral decay is claiming there is no problem with guns or gun laws just days ofter 20 young children were shot down by a gun.

    December 19, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. AA

    I think it's more of a cultural decay into sensationalized violence provided by modern media! Our law men are still in the 1930's while the rest of America changes!

    December 19, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. jason

    finally someone who gets the problem people the problem is society not necassarily the guns you let your kids sit around playing call of duty for hhours everyday because it makes a good baby sitter that type of crap is the problem lack of discipline and respect.

    December 19, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  22. Allyne

    limiting guns is not the answer. Criminals and those wanting to do harm will get the guns. All gun control will do is infringe on constitutional rights. Teaching our children right from wrong, what are morals etc. and having actual discipline will change society. Parents do not teach children how to behave and what is right. Having gun control decisions in the middle of hystercial moments is not a good idea.

    December 19, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. rafael

    I didn't think it could get worse than DeMint but this guy lacks a brain as well.

    December 19, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Ancient Texan

    The social climate today in our country is like two armed camps, split squarely down the center. The class warfare approach in the last election didn't help, and the economy with the stress of just trying to survive and hold your family together adds to the irritability that most people are feeling. When these factors begin to enter the activities of folks that are a little unstable to begin with, bad things happen.

    December 19, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. rafael

    Ask law enforcement what they think should happen with gun control and you'll have a more informed answer than you'll get from the gun crazies.

    December 19, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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