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. Chronic Cheater

    We must simply just outlaw all guns period. If we get all the guns off the street, we can have a safe sociiety. For those folks that like to hunt, we should have cordoned off hunting areas with guns supplied by the government for that purpose. This way we can preserve the right to hunt and keep our poulation safe.

    December 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. t-bone

    Moral decay is an understatement.
    Compare life today to that of the 50's.
    Look at how far we have pushed the limits on what is deemed acceptable in society.
    Look at the sexual innuendos and the language on TV and the commericials and tell me we havent sunken into the abyss.
    You can all sit back and keep asking "Why" but for me there is no "Why", just a sense of astonishment that it doesnt happen every week.
    Guns arent the problem, take away guns and these kids will resort to blowing up schools.
    The problem is the kids are mental headcases and parents dont want to admit that their kid is dangerous and they hide it from society.
    I weep for society. Liberals have pushed the envelope on what they will allow in our godless society, now they can sit back and try to explain it.

    December 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Danny

    So, if he thinks that mental illness needs to be addressed, does that mean he is throwing his support to Obamacare? Or how does he plan on paying for this?
    The tea party will be the downfall of the republican party, and if they are allowed to continue, possibly the entire country.

    December 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. San Diego Steve

    There will always be crazy people bent on killing. The people who say guns don't kill people do are the same people who are ready to invade Iran to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons. Don't they see the irony? They don't want Iran to have the ability to kill many people quickly, but the same thinking argues for a ban on certain weapons. It is true that we can't stop crazy people from doing crazy things, but stopping them from having a weapon that can kill many quickly is certainly a viable way of limiting the deaths toll.

    December 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Jim Pickens

    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 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Data Driven

    Guy was mentally ill; what does "moral decay" have to do with it? The secondary cause had to do with the guy's mother stockpiling weapons of mass destruction; address that first.

    I quite agree about focusing on the mentally ill. However, since Reagan 1) turned these people out on the streets when they had been in institutions partially funded by Federal dollars and 2) cut budgets for mental health services for those still fortunate enough to not be homeless, I find such talk to be too little, too late.

    December 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. guest

    I hope the next place a crazed killer goes off is at the NRA office in Washington, DC! I don't think I would get too upset.

    December 19, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. sbuler

    If you want to attack "moral decay" start with the NRA

    December 19, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |

    tlobe said it best. A lot of others could fall into the catagory of "mentally ill or possible shooters. The biggest problem with american society is the way the media twists and glorifys any issue, usul ally to support their
    own agenda.

    December 19, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. ed h

    over and over and over again . GOP never Ever wants to change on how the feel on any issue ever . Regardless of the consequences to the majority of tyhe citizens of this country , what they feel on issues is always dead at the door . Thats why the GOP will slowly fade into annonimity , the entire fabric of the country is changing and they are not . Scott say " a moral Deficiency " . WHAT ????? And what do you suppose you cats are going to do about that.. hmmmmmmmmmm NOTHING . You cant ! Morals come from environment , family etc .... Besides , ever hear of seperation of church and state .

    the inflexibillity of this party and the people who support them is really pathetic . when will they realize eisenhower is dead and the 1950's are over . The rest of us have moved , and if you dont , youll be nothing but a sad afterthought .

    December 19, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Brian

    Moral decay of the Republican party that is. Moral decay of lobbyists in the NRA preventing us from having an adult conversation and responsible law. Religious people in this country thinking people should starve and not be helped and owning in guns instead of the teachings of Jesus. Yes, I agree...the moral decay is yours, Scott.

    December 19, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Tiz

    Why didn't mom secure her guns from being used by a mentally unstable son? All kinds of questions can be asked... but guns do not shoot by themselves.... you can regulate assault weapons as the day is long.... but you cannot completely ban guns. The problem isn't guns. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 (19 kids under the age of 6) with a bomb.... the problem isn't guns..... it's people.....terrorists,mentally sick, and disturbed humans that do this evil. You won't find peace by banning guns. Think about it...

    December 19, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Inciteful

    Making anything illegal just creates a black market for it – alcohol, drugs, guns – and the crime that goes with it. There is no solution. Despite the moral outrage, which I share, education about use and abuse is the best approach. Acquiring a gun permit should be akin to getting a driver's license, but at 18 or 21 – learner's permit, classroom education and target range training followed by written and practical testing to acquire a "license."

    December 19, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. pompano hooker

    Chronic Cheater says outlaw all guns to make things safe. Just like drugs have been outlawed to make things safe. Uh huh.

    December 19, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. jeffro

    Godless society? Please save the drama. Too many people of the "Christian" faith are part of the problem. People... open your eyes.

    December 19, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Will

    Want to discuss MORAL DECAY Mr. Scott start with your Tea Party and their extremist views

    December 19, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Dave

    Guy was mentally ill; what does "moral decay" have to do with it?


    This is the Republican strategy used when they are afraid to talk about the role guns played. Blame video games or violent TV, make excuses for guns.

    December 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Bob Loblaw

    Parenting and moral standards start in the home. Apparently, most parents suck at this basic job. If you tell your kid it's okay to be a slut, so be it, they will think nothing of it. If you tell your kid to do what you say, usually, they'll do what you say. It's called basic parenting and if you let society raise your child, your child will be the drudge of society.

    December 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. i'm confused

    What exactly does a young man with mental problems who also has access to his mom's assault rifle have to do with "moral decay"? How are mental illness & morality even related? Listening to republicans spew their completely ignorant opinions just makes me sick....

    December 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Mr. Moderate

    So what specifically do you do about "moral decay", impose "Christian values" on people via legislation?

    December 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. asv

    Moral decay combined with open access to guns equals what, good senator?

    December 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Steve D.

    Let's talk about moral decay. This country declared war on a nation that never attacked us and posed no threat to us. we said they had weapons of mass destruction even though we knew they didn't. We said they were building nukes and were partners with al Qaeda even though we knew they weren't. Hundreds of thousand of people died and many more suffered needlessly.

    Yes, lets talk about moral decay.

    December 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. GoCanes

    Sad to have voted democratic. Mitt Romney was an idiot but i'll be damned if i give up my second amendment rights

    December 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Jeebus

    I agree that untreated mental illness is the root cause of this violence, but is the GOP willing to actually increase funding and lay out a socialized mental health care plan to deal with it? No, their "solution" to the mental health crises is more prayer in schools. Trying to enforce their narrow version of moral decency isn't going do anything except convince themselves they can force time and culture to stand still and adhere to the fantasy 1950's lifestyle they watched on Leave it to Beaver. At what point did the Republican Party decide they were going to stop consulting reality before forming their dogmatic ideologies about how life should be?

    December 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. midwest3

    What on earth does "moral decay" have to do with this latest tragedy, Aurora, or any of the numerous other incidents where the shooter was mentally ill? And DATA are 100% right. I work at a prison, and within a few days a man will be leaving here who absolutely needs to be placed in an institution – but who will be out on the streets. There is simply nowhere he can go for the care he really needs. Republicans will defend ownership of every type of gun imaginable, and cry about the need to address the mental health care issue, but money talks – and we all know that they will support the NRA and refuse to support any legislation funding/establishing truly benficial mental health care.

    December 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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