Bill would flag certified mentally ill inside gun database - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Bill would flag certified mentally ill inside gun database

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Earlier this month, Charleston Police say a mentally ill woman showed up at a Charleston private school. She was armed with a handgun, pointed it at the school's director, and pulled the trigger.

There were 50 students just yards away. The gun misfired, and police arrested Alice Boland at the scene. The federal courts found Boland mentally ill, but the gun shop that sold her the handgun three days earlier had no way of checking that information.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, solicitors, law enforcement, and lawmakers want to change that.

"Right now, all gun dealers have is when you're buying a firearm, there's a check box that asks if you've ever been adjudicated mentally ill. They have to take your word for it," said Wilson.

Lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would flag the certified mentally ill inside the database gun dealers use for criminal background checks.

"Under the law, they have to knowingly sell that to the individual, but with this system, we will be able to monitor these people who are applying for these gun applications and be able to red flag them when we need to," said Florence County Sheriff Kenny Boone.

Michel Faliero has four girls at the Charleston school that sparked this legislation. Parents there, she says, want to see this bill become law.

"Our group has parents at both extremes," said Faliero. "We understand the issues. I think this one is a very simple one. It's narrow. It's just about reporting, and in our case I think if this law were in place, Alice Boland would not have been allowed to buy that gun and the incident at Ashley Hall would not have happened. Our kids would not have been put in danger."

South Carolina is only one of 12 states that does not have some sort of mandatory mental illness reporting to gun sellers. The attorney general stresses this is not restricting gun rights because this bill would only require reporting the mentally ill to the criminal database gun dealers use for background checks.

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