Lawmakers to push new bill after Ashley Hall gun incident - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Lawmakers to push new bill after Ashley Hall gun incident

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By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says the potential for another Newtown, Conn., school tragedy hit too close to home with the gun incident at Ashley Hall School on Feb. 4.

Charleston Police Department officials say 28-year-old Alice Boland of Beaufort pulled out a gun and pointed it at Ashley Hall administrators while there were nearly 50 students in the area. Now lawmakers and political leaders in Columbia are leading the charge to try to prevent that from ever happening again with new proposed legislation.

Wilson said last week the new bill will address gaping issues in South Carolina's mental health and gun violence measures.

The Attorney General will join law enforcement, legislative and mental health leaders on Tuesday announcing the legislative plans for South Carolina. The bill will be introduced by state representatives Eddie Tallon and Rick Quinn.

Alan Wilson released a statement on the subject saying in part:

"With someone such as the suspect arrested at Ashley Hall, who had earlier threatened to kill President Bush and law enforcement officials, red flags should have gone up and stayed up," Attorney General Alan Wilson said. "She should never have been able to purchase a gun. However, she did. That is why her story highlights the need for mental health reform, not overreaching gun control."

"State and federal leaders must address the mental health epidemic by treating the problem, not by eroding or ignoring the Second Amendment," Wilson said. "There is no reason for South Carolina to remain one of six states that has no barriers to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing a firearm."

Representative Leon Stavrinakis announced a press conference Monday morning at Ashley Hall to introduce the bi-partisan mental health and gun violence legislation. Ashley Hall parents will join Stavrinakis at the school Monday at 1:30 p.m. to announce the bill.

According to a release by Stavrinakis' office, the bill will require South Carolina to "report relevant mental health information to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to identify persons who are prohibited from purchasing firearms. This will include people adjudicated by the courts, in need of inpatient or outpatient treatment, or found 'not guilty by reason of insanity.'"

Representative Stavrinakis has partnered with Wilson and will be co-sponsoring the legislation with Quinn and Tallon.

Specifics for the proposed bill will also be discussed at a news conference at the State House in Columbia on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Stay with ABC News 4 as this story continues to develop.

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