Alice Boland indicted on federal gun charges for Ashley Hall incident

By Stacy Jacobson and Sam{}CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV){}-- The woman accused of trying to fire a gun outside of Ashley Hall School is now facing federal charges.{}"I am relieved the federal government is taking action,"{}said Michel Faliero, mother of four girls who attend Ashley Hall.{}Alice Boland, 28, has been charged in a four-count indictment by the U.S. Attorney's Office with making a false statement in order to purchase a firearm, illegally possessing a firearm because of her status as a person who had been previously committed to a mental institution or who had been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, possession of a firearm in a school zone and attempted discharge of a firearm in a school zone.{} {}{} The first two counts each carry a penalty of a potential ten years imprisonment; a fine of $250,000; a term of supervised release of three years; and a special assessment of $100.{} The third and fourth counts{}each carry a statutory penalty of a potential five years imprisonment; a fine of $100,000; a term of supervised release of one year; and a special assessment of $25.Neither count{}three nor count{}four can be concurrent to any other term of imprisonment imposed as the result of a conviction for any other count.{}Faliero said putting more charges on the record helps ensure people like Boland cannot legally purchase guns in the future.{}"You need to charge Alice Boland and adjudicate these issues. People with mental illness fall through the cracks all the time because they get treatment, charges are dismissed and there is no record," she said.The case was investigated by agents of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the City of Charleston Police Department and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell of the Charleston office for prosecution.{}The charges elicited mixed emotions from Ashley Hall parents.{}"It's sadness that a life that may have been promising came to that. It's sad that there wasn't enough help for her," said Anna Murray, whose daughter attends Ashley Hall.

"There are a number of people who are afraid of Alice Boland, including me. I don't want her to come back and do anything against our school and children," Faliero said.

Police say Boland came on{}Ashley Hall School premises{}in downtown Charleston with a gun on Feb. 4 and pointed it at two school officials.

She pulled the trigger repeatedly, according to police, but the gun did not fire because there was not a round in the gun's chamber. Police said the only thing preventing the gun from firing was Boland's ignorance of handling firearms.

In Boland's bond hearing, she repeatedly said the gun was defective and would not fire.

Boland had purchased the handgun three days prior -- legally -- from a gun shop in Walterboro. According to Charleston police, the ATF announced on Feb. 8 that Boland would not face federal charges.

However, a dig into Boland's past shows she had been charged with threatening the life of the president and members of Congress in 2005.

"Give me a gun, I am going to kill you," she reportedly told airport police. "I am going to kill President Bush with a gun. Just give me a gun; I am going to come back and shoot you all, asshole. I am going to find a gun and kill you all."

She later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and the charges were dropped against her.

The regional director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said there was "nothing illegal" about Boland's purchase.

She is charged locally with attempted murder and was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 14, but it was waived. She will not have a preliminary hearing.

Boland will be arraigned on March 27 at 9:45 a.m.

The Boland case has led to a number of bills being filed on the state and federal level that attempt to close the loopholes that allow people who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent to buy firearms legally.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is pushing legislation on the federal level that would require more prosecutions of people who fail NICS background checks. His office said Wednesday that the Senator would not comment on the federal indictments, but did say that his legislation would have prevented Boland from buying a gun.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley issued a statement Wednesday afternoon supporting the gun bills.

"This near tragedy which happened in our own community clearly illustrates the need for clarity and uniformity in our gun laws.{} We must push for universal background checks, close the gun show loophole and regulate re-selling and straw purchases of weapons.{} Gun violence is an epidemic in our country and we need to change this for the future of our children. The U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday passed the gun background check bill. I would urge everyone to contact their legislators to pass this common sense legislation as a first step," he said.