More local lawmakers take position on mental health database - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

More local lawmakers take position on mental health database

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By Ava Wilhite
awilhite@abcnews4.com

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) — Word of Alice Boland's gun incident outside of Ashley Hall School last week is getting more attention from local lawmakers. Some said limiting access to guns is still not the best way to solve the problem.

"In order for it to be properly addressed, we need to make sure our Second Amendment rights are firmly protected," said South Carolina State Sen. Larry Grooms.

Grooms said there is no need to take weapons away from people who have the right to own them.

"Just because some people break the law doesn't mean we should take the rights away from everybody else. I'm a firm believer in the Second Amendment," said Grooms.

Boland was able to purchase a gun legally because the 2005 charges against her for threatening the life of then President George W. Bush were dropped. Grooms said he would not be in favor of a database for people like Boland who have been ruled mentally incompetent.

"Information regarding mental health is best with our health professionals. I don't want government officials running around with sensitive personal information that could be used by others to try to harm the individual. Government databases have too much information and they shouldn't be shared," said Grooms.  

District 111 Rep. Wendell Gilliard said he's in favor of creating a database but it won't solve the gun issue.

"I would be 100 percent for that, but that is just part of the problem. I'm for that but, let's also include putting a ban on assault weapons. I have a bill in the house; it's called bill H3189. It's asking that the state of South Carolina put a ban on all assault weapons. We need to do that," said Gilliard.

Gilliard agreed that Gov. Nikki Haley put money aside for mental health care in the state budget, but he says it won't be enough to repair the cuts made to mental health care in the past.

"You just cant come in the 12th hour and say, 'Well here is $16 million and that's going to solve the problem.' No, it's a lot of other things we have to include in this are to solve the problem," said Gilliard.  

Andy Patrick represents district 123 in the state House and agrees that the mental health system is broken and thinks a database could help. 

"There is probably a need for us to do a better job of connecting those dots that are out there in the community and evaluating whether people should have access to those weapons, but there are plenty of good people that go out everyday and want to have and should have the right to bear arms," said Patrick.  

Boland remains in the custody of law enforcement. Boland has been assigned a public defender, but her attorney did not return calls for comment on Saturday.

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