State lawmaker calls for law requiring reporting of potentially violent mentally ill people into database
A Charleston Democrat announced legislation this afternoon that would require the reporting of certain mental health records to a national database that determines whether someone can buy a gun from a retailer.
Parents and students stood behind state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis as he discussed the bill outside Ashley Hall, where a woman with a history of mental illness pointed a gun at an official and pulled the trigger Feb. 4, according to the police.
The gun didn’t go off because no round was in the chamber.
Alice Boland, 28, of Beaufort had purchased the .22-caliber pistol three days earlier in Walterboro and did so legally, despite facing a felony charge in 2005 for threatening to kill President George W. Bush. The count later was dropped after she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Stavrinakis said the bill, whose language has not been finalized, would require that such not guilty pleas be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and prevent someone from buying a gun in a shop.
It’s expected to draw bi-partisan support, he said. Republican legislators and state Attorney General Alan Wilson already have voiced support for such legislation.
Stavrinakis, whose niece attends the all-girls private school in downtown Charleston, said only six people in the state’s history have ever been reported to the database. It’s unknown, however, why those particular cases were reported while people such as Boland retained the ability to freely purchase firearms.
The bill is expected to be introduced in Columbia later this week.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.