Proposal would send SC mental health info to feds
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:12:52 GMT —
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH / AP) -- South Carolina's top prosecutor says the state would be safer under a proposal to share mental health information with the federal government.
Attorney General Alan Wilson said Tuesday a proposed bill would require the state to share information on people who have been found by a court to have mental health problems.
Charleston Police say on February 4, 28-year-old Alice Boland showed up at Ashley Hall School in downtown Charleston with a gun. They say Boland pointed the weapon at two school officials and pulled the trigger repeatedly, but authorities say the gun didn't fire because there was no ammunition in the chamber.
In 2005, Boland reportedly said she was going to kill President Bush and customs agents in a Montreal Airport. She was found not guilty in federal court by reason of insanity.
After facing those charges, state leaders are questioning how she was able to obtain a gun legally in the state.
Attorney General Alan Wilson, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and State lawmakers are working to close a loophole that would prevent those deemed mentally ill by a court from purchasing a weapon.
Wilson said it's already illegal to sell guns to people with known mental illness. But the Republican said South Carolina currently is not required to disclose that information with the federal authorities who maintain the database against which names are run for background checks.
Wilson says Boland was adjudicated by a federal court and a probate court in South Carolina, however she was able to legally purchase a weapon because the state doesn't contribute information to a national database.
"We don't need to wait for the gun to work one day before we finally take this step," said Rep. Leon Stavrinakis.
Lawmakers proposed a bill Tuesday that would require those adjudicated by a federal court to be reported to NICS, a federal database, to help keep gun shops from selling weapons to those who are mentally ill.
"Miss Boland should've been flagged on that database, and had this been in place and the loophole at the federal level been closed, they would've caught her," said Wilson.
Wilson says the law would not strip 2nd Amendment Rights of people who do have the rights to buy and own guns.
"This does not mean if you're a veteran who has PTSD, or this does not mean if you have an anxiety disorder. You will not be put in the database," said Wilson.
Lawmakers acknowledge this is a bill only to fix the loophole preventing certain people from buying weapons and that the bill is not a complete solution.
Thirty-eight states are a part of the NICS, some lawmakers are hoping South Carolina will become the 39th.