December 19th, 2012
09:58 AM ET
6 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. LIP

    Obama can go after all the guns he wants, but until someone does something about the garbage that the liberal media is dumping on us, nothing will be accomplished. Uncensored Television, Movies and video games are destroying our youth and anyone that says anything different is making a buck off of this industry and won't tell the truth.

    December 19, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Jules

    The ability for the mentally ill to buy military weapons over the counter is a huge problem. Tim Scott can talk about moral decay all he wants, but I don't see how that helps the mentally ill. There is no one out there that needs to have an assault weapon and magazines that hold huge numbers of bullets. I love to hear the nut cases talk about having their guns to protect them from the government or from a foreign invasion as if the fighting would be house to house. In some far fetched case like that your assault weapons are going to be as useless as a sling shot against such overwhelming force.

    December 19, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  3. WrldTrvlr1982

    Adam Lanza was a nut-job and his mother knew this. Why she had any weapons around the house, much less not locking them in a safe is beyond comprehension. Now to be lectured by a bunch of sanctimonious pansies about the evils of guns, most likely the same people who want to legalize drugs is another joke.

    December 19, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Roberto

    Morality has nothing to do with it, Mr. Scott. It has everything to do with mental illness. Forget the morality issue. That feeds from spirituality. This has nothing to do with GOD. This has everything to do with synapses in the brain and their failure to connect to the receptors. JEEZ!!! Does anybody have any basic understanding that the brain is the most undiscovered organ in the body? Or is medical science just totally ignored in these circumstances?

    December 19, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Larry

    Welcome to the 19th century senator. Glad you finally "came around".

    December 19, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. Joan Wheeler

    Yes, yes. Moral decay. That's it! We don't however, have time to wait until the moral decay problem is fixed. That could take quite a long time. Meanwhile, we have this nasty problem of crazy, angry people running around with assault weapons and shooting people. Let's just fix that now and deal with the moral decay later. Ban assault weapons immediately! What are we waiting for? Moral decay is not going away.

    December 19, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  7. Emy

    Before the world starts a witch hunt against children with Autism and the media acts as instigators feeding the fire against them, you should get the facts right and show the world not only one side of the story.
    The issue here should be Mental Health and not Gun Control. Children with Autism are gentle, smart, reasonable and humans just like anybody else. The story about this young man Lanza who killed those innocent children in Sandy Hook his actions was not caused by Autism as it is claimed in the media. There is something more to his story, something that just does not add up. Something that is not quite clear to us. I know this because I have a child with Autism and he is gentle, smart and loving. He has some barriers but he reasons when explained to him why and because. We should educate the public about Autism and not scared them about this condition. There are people among us like my son and parents know there difficulties and limitations. It is our obligation to address certain issues that we can not handle when it comes to our children regardless if they have a mental illness or not. We can not pretend that we can fix it on our own without outside help but then again I am quite sure that Mr. Lanza actions was not caused by Autism.
    Before we can pin point the why and because we should considered that among us we have people that the public acknowledges and might not know that they have Autism or Asberger like Daryl Hannah, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Micheal Angelo, Dan Akroyd and many more.
    Gun control will not solve this problem but addressing Mental Illness and taking more action to help will. We can not turn our heads away and prentend that in our society mental illness does not exists.

    December 19, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Kri

    mental issues is part of any and all issues, why only gun control. it is also a part of the fiscal cliff issue, and all the mental demented are working on solutions at the 12th hour.

    December 19, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  9. dike

    Well, have we ever thought why cops shoot so often at an unarmed person??? because of fear that he might have a weapon. if it is so easy to get a weapon that's what will happen. You dont need to look at the mental status of one person. I dont get how people are supporting NRA and the 4.5 million members. It is time people should look into stricter regulations. A car has more accountability and traceability than a gun... thanks to NRA promoting rules like cutting off the tracing ability so guns can be easily sent to Mexico, our kids pay the price. Hope the NRA supporters open their eyes..

    December 19, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  10. David

    The moral decay is far more prevalent in the evangelical right, the average aethiest even shows more care for the poor and needy then those who say they follow the teachings of Jesus in America today. Guns and abortion are not a religious principal and it is the only thing the religious right seems to care about.

    December 19, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Moonbeam

    The moral decay is in protecting health insurance company profits over access to mental health treatment, and making people afraid to get help for a mental problem for fear of then becoming uninsurable. When even a married couple is denied health insurance coverage because they had simply attended marriage counseling is unacceptable. My insurance agent told me that couple he represented had been treated as if their marriage counseling were a pre-existing condition. At least with Obamacare, when it is fully implemented, will allow greater access to mental health care without allowing insurance companies to use it as a basis for exclusion. The moral decay is also in not banning assault weapons and also in allowing just anyone to buy a gun at a gun show. About 40% of weapons are bought that way. Protecting that degree of gun culture while trying to call oneself a "Christian" is moral decay.,

    December 19, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  12. rightforlife

    Proverbs 14:4 Righteousness lifts up a nation, but sin is a shame to any people.

    Of course many people don't want to listen to the creator of the universe, let alone obey him.

    December 19, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. Kenchandammit

    Nothing has decayed morality more than religion. Telling people from their first days that they are doomed for eternity unless they put all their faith in and give ten percent of their income to an organization formed by men that has repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly lied, cheated, raped, and denied the truth is immorallity itself.

    December 19, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  14. rehabmax

    We have no shortage of nuts and psychopaths in this country. if they want to main and murder they will find a way. No laws will stop them. it hasn't worked in the past and it won't in the future. Just don't be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    December 19, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. CeasersGhost

    Tim Scott is correct "moral decay". Moral Decay of our government politicians who listen to Special Interest Groups and vote not by how they were raised for what's right but by greed.

    December 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. rehabmax

    There is no shortage of nuts and psychopaths in this country. If they want to main and murder they will find a way. No laws will stop them. It hasn't in the past and it won't in the future. I think guns are evil and only cause misery. it has nothing to do with liberty or protection. More people will die from handgun violence in the next 24 hours than were killed at the school. Sad but true.

    December 19, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. rehabmax

    The irony of this is if you look at our inner city "violent school" Very few kids are ever killed in the high school by their classmates.
    The elementary school massacre was from a deranged young man who had all to easy access to high powered weapons. If his mom had not brought the weapons into the house the only thing he would have had was a kitchen knife. Very poor judgement on the mother's part allowed the fuse to be lit and cost her life plus 26 others.

    December 19, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. The Tea Party is Partially to Blame

    Mental illness isn't the result of "moral decay". Is he talking about the same moral decay that Newt Gingrich spoke about in his $100,000 speeches while he was having extra-marital affairs? The reason that there are so many people out there who should be institionalized, is because mental institutions are continually faced with budget cuts. The tea party fights for such funding cuts. As a result, many of these people are released after a few days. I know of such cases. They can't be kept because there isn't enough funding to keep them. Maybe Tim Scott should put his money where his mouth is, instead of being a hyppocrite! Bunch of low-life, extremist fanatics. There are churches everywhere, that aren't taxed, but their answer is more religion. Worthless!

    December 19, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  19. SFRich

    Hey... he was only appointed Senator. He'll need to run for election some day, and he just cut his odds of winning.

    December 19, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  20. Greg

    This is the best thinking I've heard emerge from this emotionally charged situation. The shootings were horrible, but the fix is not to take guns away. We need to address the root of the problem...and that is moral decay precisely.

    December 19, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Conrad Murray

    The GOP likes arcande games...because they're always scrounging for tokens.

    December 19, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  22. george

    It's ironic that Tim Scott blames moral decay when the Republican Party is morally bankrupt.

    December 19, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Balls McGhee

    When Republicans tell their children that it is okay to act like a jerk ("you lie," Sarah Palin "target" comments, Democratic congresswomen being shot, taking gund down to the border to scare illegals, muslim hate, anti-gay comments, buy guns to protect your self from Obama, etc) you are going to degrade our morals and have more shootings.

    December 19, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. jack481949

    Yes Congressman. It is terrible to see Representatives and Senators who don't have the moral backbone to deal with issue and ban the guns. That is the real moral decay in this country.

    December 19, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. D

    It is most certainly a moral decay. Children not being raised right by watching shows that are certainly were not tolerated in yester year. Parents working harder to provide helps contribute to this problem. But the biggest problem is some parents' denial that there is a problem with their child.

    Then society having the mindset of just do what feels good. Furthermore the separation of God from upbringing. So to many of you that mock someone that says something that is not PC, ask yourself are you part of the problem or the solution. Just look at Mexico, tough gun laws yet people are held hostage by drug cartels. On the flip side there are nations with very strict gun laws but hardly any gun crime. You wil find in those nations, that parents certainly pay attention to to their kids' problems and take action.

    So all you brain geniuses out there debate this post I dare you as you will exp9ose to yourself what kind of person you are and what courage you yhave to face who you are.

    December 19, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
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