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. JohnRJohnson

    Moral decay? Oh no! Not another theocrat in government! As the lethality of the weapons has escalated over the last half century and their proliferation in our society increased, so has the horrific nature and frequency of these massacres.

    December 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. StandForTruth

    While this was absolutely a tragedy, the government does not have the right to treat the rest of over 10 million law abiding citizens like we're irresponsible 2 year olds by taking our rights to defend ourselves because of the few cracked nuts that walk among us everyday.

    December 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Mark Savery

    Yes, gay marriage and abortion are resonsible for this horrible tragedy.

    December 19, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. kayla

    somebody wants to sound relevant

    December 19, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. asm_ith

    A real question is what does he define as the morals from which we've decayed. Does he believe that these 6 & 7 year old kids were lacking morals? Maybe he thinks it was all of their parents that were lacking morals? There are certainly a set of morals with which I think we can all agree, such as you shouldn't commit murder. But I suspect that his view of morals would exclude anyone who is pro-choice, possibly even anyone who isn't an evangelical Christian (all atheists, Jews, Catholics, etc.).

    December 19, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. kiskakodiak

    Oh, boy, he's off to a fine start, isn't he?

    December 19, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. shindigg

    not too many things more immoral than the cheap labor, robber baron, LYING, republicon cult party that's for sure... so as a member thereof, he should know...

    December 19, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Liberty&JustForAll

    He's absolutely correct. This country is a pit and it's pathetic that we let a bunch of immoral liberals ruin this country. Time to throw out all these liberal monsters who impose their immoralities on the rest of us GOD fearing citizens and cloak it all in the name of freedom meanwhile impinging on everyone elses freedom. Time to start over.

    December 19, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. LL

    Starting out firmly with his head up his backside. Welcome Rep Scott! I see you got the NRA talking points.

    December 19, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Adela Brown

    Moral decay? Really...from a politician. WOW!!!

    December 19, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Kweso

    Well Mr. Appointed Senator, you cannot legislate morality or mental illness, but you can legislate gun control. Think about that.

    December 19, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Luke Brown

    The private ownership of assault weapons is ridiculous. That is moral decay! The only reason for automatic weapons is to kill large numbers of people. They have no other use.

    Tim, congratulations on your good work mimicking the NRA. PAC contributions are on the way!

    December 19, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. amlcpamaine

    Here we go again – another theocrat in the Senate!
    "moral decay" is bait for the lemmings who follow these hate-mongers and ideologues. "Moral decay" HAS had an impact here, but in the form of high-priced lobbyists and outrageously-paid NRA "leaders" who so intimidate our pols that sensible legislation can't pass. Automatic weapons designed for war are available down the street in gun shows – no questions asked. That's profits – and that's moral decay. And the very people who shouldn't ever have access to any type of dangerous weapon are not only ignored as treatment funds are cut – they are turned out on the street. That's moral decay.

    This guy's on his high and the GOP is counting on him for their filibusters. But these ignorant pronouncements just to reinforce the ideology is wasting our time, getting nothing done in Washington and is insulting to the MOST of us in the middle.

    December 19, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. RandyF

    Wow no mention of mental illness. Just a Repub in a brown wrapper.

    December 19, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    There are archaeological records of people railing against the immorality of the younger generations going back to at least the Roman Empire. There are complaints of crooked politicians and hypocritical clerics going back even farther.

    December 19, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. dannymetro

    I'm sure this guy has the full support of the Teapartiban.

    December 19, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. John in Brooklyn

    The only advantage to having Rep Scott in the Senate is that he's been taken out of the Republican-controlled House and sent to the Democratically-controlled Senate. Fortunately, as a result, he'll have less of a chance to inflict atual damage.

    December 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. MakeThemEatCake

    moral decay? hmm at one time it was the law of the land that Native Americans and slaves born in the United States did not count as a full person towards a census. at one time it was the law of the land that woman weren't allowed to vote. the minds of the people opened a bit and these laws were changed. the law of the land says that anyone can possess any firearm for any reason. the minds of the people need to open a bit and find a middle ground here. NO restrictions when it comes to firearms, as well as a total ban on firearms, are not the way to go.

    December 19, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. SunnyD

    You're a loser....I don't care if99.999999% of gun owners were law abiding. You tell me I can't have access to certain guns or have to jump through 50 hoops to get one and not another 5-7 year old is killed (anyone for that matter) and I'm all in. The 2nd Amendment was put in place to allow the masses access to arms in order to pose a threat or fight an out of control flash even the most avid gun nut isn't stopping the US military if an uprising of sorts crops up...whether its a legit uprising or a bag of nuts (you obviously belong to ) you'll be blasted to smitherines with attack helicopters and laser guided bombs. Little kids (the age of my son) lied there dying...just try to imagine what was goign through their little brains as the did so.

    December 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Vadm

    Don't know if I would call it "Moral Decay" but perhaps a growing problem with how we socialize as a society. You only have to look to the comments section to see it. We are so quick to insult, demean, disrespect or get angry simply because people dont agree with us. The social skills we used to learn by being around others are being lost and replaced by status updates and tweets. How often do people you are with interupt their conversation to answer a text? This is rude behavior but is the new norm. We are losing the ability to cope.

    December 19, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Slappy

    As I read these posts, it is more than evident that not only has the morality decayed, but so have all manners and self dicipline. All of these, along with many other things, have contributed to a society that is numb in many ways.

    If people on these posts can't even be respectful in their comments, and avoid attacking people, how are we ever going to fix the crazy ones that go too far?

    Seriously, take a good look at yourself first, and work to make changes that make you a better person, then go and help others be better. I lot less talk and a little more action is all it takes. One step at a time.

    December 19, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Tom Joad

    I blame the moral decay of our political system. Bring back FDR!

    December 19, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Nick

    It's called a lot of bad karma that America has built up.

    December 19, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Slash

    "Moral decay"

    The country is the most moral it's ever been. By far. But of course, religious extremists hate the fact the civil liberties are now increasingly available to groups they gleefully persecuted for centuries.

    Too bad. Their era is over. They can deal with it. And maybe, instead of wasting time talking about the eeeeevils of freedom and liberty, they can do something productive.

    December 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Neil Grossman

    He's right about moral decay - we now value gun rights more than peoples' lives. What could possibly be more immoral?

    December 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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