CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Governor Nikki Haley signed the "Ashley Hall Bill" into law on Friday. The bill, which seeks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, was approved by the Statehouse on Thursday, according to Rep. Leon Stavrinakis.
The impetus for the bill began at Ashley Hall, the private, all-girls school in downtown Charleston.
In early February, police say 28-year-old Alice Boland, a woman with documented mental health issues, tried to fire a loaded pistol at school officials.
Boland had previously faced federal charges for threatening to kill President George W. Bush, but those charges had been dismissed after she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
She is being held behind bars and is facing federal and state charges.
Following the bill's passage in the Statehouse, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released this statement:
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.
February 4th's disturbing incident outside Ashley Hall School came dangerously close to becoming another Virginia Tech massacre. The incident was a wake-up call for our state and demonstrated the need for mental health reporting in South Carolina.
This bill in no way infringes on the rights of law-abiding South Carolinians like myself who legally own guns. It simply ensures that people who are not lawfully allowed to carry a gun cannot get one. It also enables those who have recovered from their mental illness and are no longer a danger to themselves or their community to fully regain their Second Amendment rights.
An important civics lesson can be learned from this bill and how Ashley Hall parents such as Anna Murray and many others who set an example for citizens can effectively come together to make our state a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.
I look forward to Governor Haley signing this bill into law, and I commend legislative leaders such as Rick Quinn, Eddie Tallon, Leon Stavrinakis, Greg Gregory, Larry Martin, Paul Thurmond, and the entire General Assembly for quickly responding to this matter and working with the Attorney General's office, the Lieutenant Governor, the House Speaker, SLED, NRA, Probate Courts, Sheriffs, Solicitors, Police Chiefs, Court Administration, and Ashley Hall parents to accomplish this legislation.