CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The State Law Enforcement Division has been awarded a $900,000 grant to improve the system which checks criminal backgrounds of prospective gun purchasers, the United States Department of Justice announced Friday.
According to United States Attorney Bill Nettles, SLED applied for the grant after state lawmakers passed the Boland Bill, which creates a database of people who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms for being mentally defective, incompetent, or for being involuntarily sent to a mental institution.
The bill references Alice Boland, who police say tried to shoot a school official outside Ashley Hall in downtown Charleston earlier this year. Years earlier, Boland had been found not guilty by reason of insanity of threatening to kill President George W. Bush. Despite that plea, police say Boland was able to purchase a handgun at a gun store in Walterboro days before the incident.
State Representative Leon Stavrinakis, of Charleston, sponsored and co-authored the bill. He expressed his satisfaction at the grant,"This is what good government looks like. When Democrats and Republicans work together for the common good, we not only can change lives, we can save them as well. The passage of this law, coupled with the funding to enforce it, will make our schools, streets, and communities much safer. This could not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Attorney General and his staff, my colleagues in the legislature, and the courageous mothers at Ashley Hall School who fought so hard for this law. Because of this bipartisan effort, people like Alice Boland will never be able to legally purchase a firearm and put our children in danger again."