'Boland Bill' passes SC House unanimously
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The so-called Boland Bill, a bipartisan bill that aims to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill by mandating reporting to a federal database, was passed unanimously by the state's House on Wednesday.
One of the bill's earliest cosponsors, Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, said he was proud of the quick work done by the State House in passing the bill on to the Senate.
"What happened at Ashley Hall sent shockwaves through everyone in the legislature and we acted as quickly as we could to fix this glaring loophole in the system. As I have said before, while we did not have the ultimate tragedy at Ashley Hall, it wasn't because the system was working. The system was broken. With the passage of this bill, no one with a criminal history of mental illness will be able to legally purchase a firearm in South Carolina," Stavrinakis said.
He went on to say that the parents at Ashley Hall School have pushed every week for the passage of the bill, often visiting with elected officials in Columbia."I am confident that the Senate will pass this bill without amendments and send it to the Governor's desk as soon as possible. I look forward to attending a signing ceremony in Charleston sometime this Spring," he said.SPECIAL SECTION: The Alice Boland CaseThe bill is called the Boland Bill after 28-year-old Alice Boland, who is accused of taking a loaded gun to Ashley Hall School in February and pointing it at teachers while students and other school officials were walking outside to go home.While police say she pulled the trigger repeatedly, the gun did not fire.In the wake of her arrest, a storied history of mental illness has shed light on her case as well as the problems with mental health in the state. According to court records, Boland was charged once before with threatening the lives of the president and members of Congress during a moment of rage in a Canadian airport. Those charges were later dismissed after she pleaded guilty by reason of insanity. Before that incident, records show she had problems at the College of Charleston and while she was a student there was sent to a mental health facility. Her parents have filed a pair of multi-million-dollar lawsuits against several state agencies and hospitals for her alleged mistreatment, but none made it to court.The bill introduced by Reps. Stavrinakis, Eddie Tallon, Rick QUinn, and Peter McCoy has a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Chip Campsen. The incident at Ashley Hall School also attracted the attention of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who filed a background checking bill of his own.Boland is being kept in a mental health facility in North Carolina. Her bond was set at $900,000.