State legislation to keep better tabs on the mentally ill that was drafted following a Beaufort woman’s alleged attempt to shoot a school official in Charleston this year is now in Gov. Nikki Haley’s hands.
The legislation would create a database of people adjudicated mentally defective, such as those deemed by the courts to be incompetent, or people involuntarily sent to a mental institution. South Carolina lawmakers gave final approval today to the “Boland Bill.”
Alice Boland, 28, tried to fire a handgun at officials at Ashley Hall school in downtown Charleston and pulled the trigger Feb. 4, according to police. The gun didn’t go off because no round was in the chamber.
She had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of mental incompetence to threatening to kill President George W. Bush in 2005. But that plea didn’t appear in a federal background check when Boland went to buy the guy she took to Ashley Hall because South Carolina doesn’t share that information.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released a statement this afternoon about the bill’s passage. “February 4th’s disturbing incident outside Ashley Hall School came dangerously close to becoming another Virginia Tech massacre. The incident was a wake-up call for our state and demonstrated the need for mental health reporting in South Carolina,” he said.
Wilson stated that the legislation in no way infringes on the rights of “law-abiding South Carolinians” but “simply ensures that people who are not lawfully allowed to carry a gun cannot get one.”
Wilson also stated that he looks forward to Haley signing this bill into law. Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey said Haley intends to sign the bill into law.
Check back on postandcourier.com for updates.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.