The lawmaker who South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has chosen to replace tea party-backed Sen. Jim DeMint (R) says legislators should focus on mental health instead of gun laws following the massacre of 20 elementary school children in Connecticut last week.

CNN host Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday noted that a majority of National Rifle Association (NRA) members backed many types of new gun restrictions, and asked Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) what could be done to make the country safer.

"You've co-sponsored a deal that would keep the Department of Justice from knowing if someone bought multiple guns," O'Brien reminded Scott. "You've co-sponsored a deal that would allow gun dealers to sell weapons across state lines. Where for you is the line -- if there is one -- for change that would keep something like Newtown from happening again?"

"Well, I think the solutions are not necessarily in new legislation," the senator-designate insisted. "Perhaps, the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past who have had the desire to create the atrocities that we've seen recently. So, mental illness should be a major part of the conversation going forward."

"We should also look at this as an opportunity to engage this entire culture of moral decay and of violence," he continued. "So when we start looking for solutions as a response to the crisis, I think we're starting in the right place. If we draw conclusions quickly, we may draw flawed conclusions."

In addition to supporting controversial gun bills, Scott has suggested impeaching President Barack Obama over the debt ceiling, proposed cutting off food stamps for families with union members on strike, backed cutting South Carolina's entire HIV/AIDS budget, and co-sponsored a monument to aborted fetuses.

Watch this video from CNN's Starting Point, broadcast Dec. 19, 2012.