Gov's office: Haley will sign Boland Bill - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Gov's office: Haley will sign Boland Bill

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The fast-tracked background checks bill that came out of a gun incident outside of a downtown Charleston school is headed to the governor's desk. Now the governor is poised to sign it.

According to Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, the Statehouse gave final approval to the Boland Bill on Thursday. 

The bill, named for Alice Boland, the 28-year-old woman accused of trying to fire a gun outside Ashley Hall School on Feb. 4, was filed within three weeks of the incident and quickly garnered support from both houses and both sides of the aisle.

State Attorney General Alan Wilson applauded the efforts of the State Legislature in getting the bill passed through the House and Senate less than 90 days after the incident.

"Eighty seven days after a near tragedy at Ashley Hall School in Charleston, the General Assembly passed one of the year's most important pieces of legislation. The ‘Ashley Hall Bill' keeps South Carolinians safe by preventing those who have been court adjudicated mentally ill from purchasing firearms, while also protecting the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners," he wrote in a statement Thursday afternoon.

One of the bill's earliest cosponsors, Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, said last month he was proud of the quick work done by the State House in passing the bill on to the Senate.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Alice Boland Case

"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.

ABC News 4 has tried on several occasions to contact Governor Nikki Haley's office for her position on the Boland bills. Rob Godfrey, her spokesman, said Thursday night that Haley would be signing the background check bill.

In the wake of Boland's 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.

 

Political reaction to the passage of the Boland Bill:

Senator Greg Gregory stated, "The passage of this bill is one of the significant accomplishments of the General Assembly this year. It provides a common sense partial solution to gun violence while in no way diminishing the 2nd Amendment rights of South Carolinians."  Gregory continued, "Passage of the bill is due to one of the finest collective efforts among citizens, legislators and state agencies that I've witnessed."

Senator Larry Martin stated, "I want to applaud the Ashley Hall "Moms" for their untiring efforts to turn a tragic occurrence into a positive result for the people of our state.  Their example should be a testament to others of what our citizens can and should do when they take their time and abilities to work  to make our state a better one for ourselves and our children.  I can't say enough about the efforts and cooperation of the Ashley Hall "Moms", the Attorney General and his staff, SLED, and Senator Gregory and his subcommittee for the work to get this important legislation passed."

Representative Leon Stavrinakis stated, "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."

Representative Eddie Tallon stated, "This bill would not have been possible without a team effort. Today is a great day in South Carolina because of folks like Anna Murray, the Attorney General, Lt. Governor, Speaker, SLED, and the House and Senate working together to simultaneously protect our communities and the Constitution."

Representative Rick Quinn stated, "The Ashley Hall legislation is the byproduct of bipartisanship and the Attorney General, SLED, and law enforcement working with the NRA to protect our state while not infringing on the gun rights of law abiding citizens. It is a miracle the gun did not chamber at Ashley Hall.  However, this bill shows that good can come from near tragedies."

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