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. JC

    Unfortunately for all of your right wingers that look at the break down of morality, you are focused on the wrong things.

    While I agree that violence and sex on TV is eroding our morality, all other western countries have this same issue, but not the same results.

    The real problem is money and greed, and the lack of community because of the effects of money.

    Republicans like to believe that moral breakdown is because of allowing same sex marriage or allowing pot to be legalized. The truth is that our society has folded to capitalism, and all that comes with it, including a lack of community due to the dog-eat-dog structure.

    December 19, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. John

    @Chronic Cheater
    Good luck with that one. You'll certainly have a high success rate getting honest upright people to hand in their weapons. But thugs, criminals, murderers and nutcases? No way.
    Congratulations, you just disarmed all the WRONG people!!

    December 19, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. GenYer

    ACTUALLY.......... it is not gun control or moral decay. It is mental illness that needs to be addressed.

    December 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. John

    Scott's thoughts as he is verbalizing the solutions "The minute I say anything that could be considered anti-NRA, I am out of here faster than a speeding bullet!

    December 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. trina

    @ T Bone, You do know in the 50's morality was that big either, ask the individuals who lived under Jim Crow, ask the people who schools and churches were blown up. How in the hell do we live in a Godless society when there are still so many believers in God in our Society.

    December 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Linell Ela, Winter Park, FL

    No where is the "moral decay" more apparent than in the United States Congress where Senators and Representatives listen to and vote for the interests of the large corporations that (not who, because corporations are not people) make large donations to their campaigns. The wishes and concerns of their constituents who elected them matter not!

    December 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. foggieday

    Liberal thinking allows violent computer games, violent movies, violent TV. You simply cannot get away from it. These and many other items lead to tragedies. Liberals will tell you this is "Freedom of Speech" but what it really is "Moral Decal". Our fore fathers would roll over in their graves if they, who were liberals, knew where "Freedom of Speech" has gone. It simply has to stop. Guns will be the target, as they should be too, particularly semi automatics, but the real cause goes MUCH deeper. And Liberals will never address the real problem which is "Liberalism at any cost".

    December 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Nik

    Hes completely right, but most liberals won't admit it.

    Its unfortunate the party of FDR and JFK has been taken over by selfish, lazy, whining brats.

    December 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Find your own country to ruin

    He's correct. Moral decay plays a part in some of societies ill's. Problem is, just as raising the taxes on the rich won't solve anything, banning guns won't either, other than making people feel "better". It's like a drug. RECORD sales of AR's recently is the result of the looming changes to gun laws. Our law's don't eliminate anything, they just curb behavior slightly. There are still murders and thefts even though there are laws. More people killed in auto accidents everyday, but Hummer's and large vehicles are not outlawed. The risk of dying in a car crash is the cost of the freedom to drive. Unfortunately, murders of any kind are a cost of our freedom. Go live somewhere else if you do not accept that.

    December 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Tim is a winner!

    This guy is a real winner! Bravo to the tea party for shooting themselves in the foot pardon the pun.

    December 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. foggieday

    Way to go Tim Scott!

    December 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. America1st

    Completely agree. The TEA PARTY radicals must be stopped.

    December 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Logic

    No offense, but being lectured about moral decay from a politician seems a bit oxymoronic.

    December 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. John

    Simple question.....If the killer's mother did not own/have that Bushmaster .223, how many children would still be alive that died?

    December 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. DC

    What did Arnold say as the Terminator about human beings, "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves!"

    Truer words couldn't have been spoken even in a movie!

    December 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. mhub

    This is a smoke screen set up by the NRA. BS. And the 'if they're made illegal, only the criminals will have them' is more BS fear mongering the NRA does. Oh, and the extremist conspiracy ideas that they need assault rifles to protect themselves from the government – more mind control by the NRA. Who, of course, are there to keep the gun manufacturers in business.

    December 19, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Dan

    Moral decay? Completely absurd.
    Please, show me a decade in our nations history which was superior. Our nations history is one of slavery, lynchings, witchcraft trials, promoting ignorance, Jim Crow laws/poll taxes, McCarthyism, wars, discrimination against all manner of minorities in nearly every conceivable way, robber barons, monopolies, and the feminine mystique. I could go on (and on). It's only in recent years that we've BEGUN to become civilized. We have here Jerry Falwell's legacy; one of continued hatred of non-WASPs (and even then only if they're straight). Violent crime is DOWN. Discrimination in all forms is DOWN. These individuals long for the good ol' days. What good ol' days? They never existed. Rosa Parks only died a few years ago. These aren't even the worst school shootings. Charles Whitman was MUCH more destructive to lives in the 50s, even without an "assault rifle" (whatever that means). Yeesh. Buy a clue.

    December 19, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Lisa P.

    Great - I hope this means that we can count on Senator-to-be Scott's vote when it comes to fully funding mental health screening, support and care for all Americans regardless of their ability to pay for it.

    As for moral decay, how about starting with the folks who think greed and selfishness are moral values? There doesn't need to be a law; I'm sure a good talking-to with the Tea Party's major donors would be a start. Well, Rep. Scott? No place to start like your own back yard. Otherwise you're just pointing fingers and putting out hot air, using morality as a way to puff up your image and maneuver for political advantage. Which would be a prime example of the very moral decay you claim to condemn, by the way.

    December 19, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Canuck

    "moral decay is the problem"

    Please explain how giving gay people the same rights as everyone else and allowing people to smoke a joint in the privacy of their own homes can lead to the senseless slaughter of innocents. You "moral decay is the problem" people just don't want to face the real issues – massive availability of firearms and untreated mental illness due to funding cuts.

    December 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Sven

    @ Tom G Couldn't agree more. What we need in Congress are smart people not these religious morons. "Moral Decay", the idiot can't say Mental Ilness? As a former NRA member I find their position and especially their retoric appalling. We need to get guns out of the reach of the mentally ill, period. The solution is obvious to "smart people".

    December 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Tim Scott points to 'moral decay' after school shooting"

    Did he point at it with a gun? If not, then how do we know if he's serious or not?

    December 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. John vance

    Every generation has members decrying moral decay. They're always wrong and life goes on.

    December 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. B.

    The Moral decay starts with our -false leaders in Congress to step away from Politics and do something towards Gun Control for a start!

    Worthless people..

    December 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Joe

    Stop with the moral decay and the 1950's was a great era. It was a time where minorities were pushed into a corner and women were stuck at home serving men.

    We have 100 times the amount of gun related deaths in this country as any other country. Is that God's fault? No it's the Republican's fault because they cower to the NRA over some BS amendment in the Bill of Rights written when we were at war and had musket guns.

    The blood is on the hands of the republicans.

    December 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Sick and Tired

    Many folks have said it before and I will say it again. Blaming this on Moral Decay is a cop out. No one in the Tea Party Republican camp is about to fund real meaningful changes to the way we help/treat/handle mentally ill people in this country. Nor can anyone with a brain legislate how "society acts". So, by blaming all our ills on some undefined "moral decay" they can point fingures with impunity with no consequesces, or responsibility for making a fix. It's all BS. It's time to wake up and remove these tools of destruction from our society; since we can't tell who is naughty or nice we need to remove them all from all citizens. The mantra of "if guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns" is true; arrest them all! I cannot think of any times off hand when an armed citizen prevented a crime (I'm sure there have been instances; many in fact...) but, there are always countless instances of gun toting thugs doing much harm. So, what is the balance sheet?

    December 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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