Many lawmakers unaware SC lacks mental health database

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and S.C. Rep. Joe Daning echoed several lawmakers this week, saying they did not know South Carolina lacks a database of those who have been deemed by the courts as mentally unfit.

"I'm amazed, I really am," Daning said.

Riley said he did not know until recently that{}South Carolina lacked a database to track people with a history of mental issues. The database could trigger a red flag if they tried to purchase firearms, he said. Chip Limehouse and Peter McCoy said Thursday they were not aware the state did not have a mental health database.

"The state of South Carolina needs to get its act together," he said, adding that he's been calling on members of the General Assembly to act. "I'm telling them the state of South Carolina needs an automated system of collecting data about people that have been adjudicated mentally incompetent so that it's available to those selling guns, it's available to our national government for them to put in their database."

Daning said he supported the push to make a database.

"I would absolutely be in favor of doing something with it. I can't believe someone in that state of mind can get a gun. I'm absolutely opposed to that. I'm in favor of the Second Amendment, but we have to have background checks and we have to have a good database," Daning said.

Riley said money should not be an issue, that whatever is needed should be allocated as soon as possible. He said the incident at Ashley Hall on Monday was too close for comfort.

"It needs to be done. We need it. We have to make our communities safer and we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill and who shouldn't be in the possession of a lethal weapon," he said.

Gov. Nikki Haley's office said the governor is "happy to look at whatever action the legislature takes going forward."

Charleston police said Friday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms won't be filing federal charges against Boland. Police said earlier in the week that the .22-caliber handgun she allegedly pointed at administrators at Ashley Hall was legally purchased.

Management at the gun shop that sold Alice Boland the gun she pointed at school officials at Ashley Hall declined to comment on the incident Friday.