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. Enzo

    If the senator is waiting for perfect solutions then nothing will ever get done. Moral decay Does play a role. This includes the current stronghold big pharmaceutical companies have on our politicians. It won't be surprising if we learn that the latest massacre was fueled by a sick kid hopped-up on prescription medicine with horrendous side affects. Lets see if the senator is courageous and smart enough to touch that!

    December 19, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. bspurloc

    so the govt should buy everyone an AR15 and require GROUP PRAYERS christian only of course

    December 19, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. John

    Isn't he the guy who wanted to impeach Obama for raising the debt ceiling?

    December 19, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Dev

    Just like the links in the chain that brings an aircraft down, remove one and the accident does not occur.

    Many links in the chain of this tragedy and guns are only one of them.

    December 19, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. tp1776

    It's a lost cause folks. We took a path of 'gun rights' and now our country is flooded with guns. It's impossible to turn back now. Newtown won't be the last school to to lose children and teachers, and Aurora won't be the last scene of mass murder. This is the equation we're living with now: more guns + more people = more death. Nothing will change that, we're not gonna change. RIP all current and future victims.

    December 19, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. nothing new here


    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??
    People have more than enough rights to go worship in any manner they choose. People have all the rights to work, but people are being forced to pay through the nose for the GOP version of BIG GOVERNMENT with this endless war on pot and channeling all this money into BIG business and third-world countries.
    Limited government means just that – LIMITED GOVERNMENT.
    And no I am not a Democrat...

    December 19, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. MrBeenThere

    Blame the people not the poor poor miss understood gun.............. look you moron your not going to fix our morals and it's not your job to say if my morals are good or bad. I obey the laws you can't judge me because you don't like my morals. So it's up to you to protect me from the people who break the laws using guns and if that means gun controls you better do it....... that's what your getting paid for. I actually believe it's your extreme whack nut right wing moral idea's that is causing all the problems in this diverse changing America

    December 19, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Tom G

    The problem with the majority of these "moral decay" arguments is that they usually are equating morality with religion, which is a mind boggling stupid statement to make. Religion is often at odds with human morality and human dignity (just look at the gay rights issue). The fact is that god has no place in the classroom. He belongs in the home and in the church, should the parents decide so. This is a mental health issue, and yes, a gun control issue. I'm an NRA member and have 2 pistols. I do not need, nor will I ever need, a semi-automatic assault rifle. "But how will I protect my family?" If you need a military rifle to protect your family, you have bigger problems than a gun can solve. You simply don't need one and they need to be banned. Period.

    December 19, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Fearless Freep

    Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands.........

    The above statement is one of the sickest things i have ever read.
    I expect this kind of garbage from Republicans.

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

    Yes, Washington was just WAITING for Tim Scott to show up so we can START a conversation on guns so he can ensure any solution offered is not "flawed". That horse has already been beaten to death and the time for conversations is over. It is time to ACT and get assault rifles out of the hands of ordinary people. No one needs to hunt with an assault rifle!

    December 19, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. William

    We have had gun laws put into place in the past. Usually in response to a tragedy than in a year its all forgotten. I have seen with my own eyes how young people are acting. They are desensitized, greedy and envious, demand instant gratification and will resort to violence at a moments notice. We have all seen the U-Tube videos of this. Our schools are war zones. I see nothing wrong with owning a gun. You can pile guns up in front of a kid all day but when you have a child that has been marinating in violent games where you learn to shoot everyone and combine it with a mental illness than there is going to be a bad outcome. But right now all we Citizens can do is blame each other, point fingers and say others have blood on their hands and look to politicians to come save us from ourselves. So i do agree with Scott, there is a moral decay not just in the USA but in the West as a whole.

    December 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Donald Grabarz

    Moral decay – sounds like some wires are missing in Tim Scott. Is there a moral decay – you bet. Are guns a problem – you bet. Having the easy access to guns facilitates those who want to do harm regardless of their mental state. Someone tell me how you are going the legislate control of mental illness. Are we to require everyone to have a test and those that fail will be isolated from society. The change in focus to only look at mental illness is a fallacious. Let's get real and stop bending to the few for sake of the many. Meaningful control of weapons needs to be in place. Perhaps moving to the extreme in having a national registration requirement for ALL existing guns owners with severe consequences would raise some eyebrows.

    December 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Andrew

    Moral decay? Like Slimy Sanford he protected? Whatever...

    December 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Graham Smith

    It took him no time to become part of the problem.

    December 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. jon

    These Southern state electees are really the crazy ones. Thank God we did not elect a Republican to head our country.

    December 19, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Organic1

    Moral decay is the second description I would use for the leaders in this country. I will not use the first one, because it is not nearly as forgiving. This seems to be 'Do as I say, not as I do' logic. For me, that is becoming tiresome and repetitive at best, time for these leaders to step up.

    December 19, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. jnpa

    Already he is opposing anything that MAY be suggested. A real member of the party of NO!

    December 19, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Al Ford

    When politicians take the job in order to line their pockets....

    December 19, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. yahusha

    moral decay is the problem... our generation has embraced a "new normal" of accepting and empowering the perversion of homosexuality as well as legalizing the use of marijuana... our generation is directly responsible for the moral decay of our society... we should be ashamed of how quickly we have driven the ship into the iceberg once we were given control of the helm.

    December 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Gregory Faith

    Turn on the TV and I bet you can tune to a channel right now and see someone getting killed by gun fire!! That is broken and needs fixing. We are desensitizing our citizens and it has been showing since the late sixties to last Friday. More will of this will continue to happen ever after the gun grab is over. Mental illness is not being taken seriously since Reagan emptied the institutions while he was president. This young man should have had the help and constant monitoring as with any child with a genetic defect. End the violence and this should end soon after a few generations are not bombarded with negative, violent acts always in their face.

    December 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Jim Pickens

    Creative said has it right. Adam Lanza was mentally ill. His mother was having him committed/institutionalized and he found out and went into a rage. He was jealous of the children his mother cared for at school, and he had told her that. Why did he have access to her guns, kitchen knives, cars, or any other potential weapon. The deranged with access to any kind of weapons? What can be expected from that?

    December 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. Dave

    Typical Republican hypocrisy. He speaks of 'moral decay', but of course completely goes in the WRONG direction. The moral decay that Tim Scott speaks of is the American obsession with guns and violence. These people don't have one gun, or two, they have an arsenal in their homes and all of it improperly secured. The moral decay is the irresponsibility of individual citizens who think their 'right to arm' is more important than their responsibility to the security of their fellow citizens. I don't know about any one else, but I am sick and tired of these people.

    December 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Just a thought

    And the law maker should know about moral decay, they wrote the books on it. The tittle being "Politics in the 21st Century"

    December 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Demiurge

    I really got to wonder if he really thinks we're morally worse now than back in, say, 1910, when being a Klansman improved one's chances of getting elected, when lynchings were de facto legal enterprises, when working children to death in sweatshops was acceptable business practice, and shooting laborers for wanting things like work days that weren't 16 hours long was perfectly fine.

    December 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Magnus V.

    those on the far left here are just dumb asses just as those on the far right. No gun law would have prevented what happened last week short of taking all guns.Seems everyone is looking for the quick fix on this issue and a new law will not be it.

    December 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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