Graham proposes screening for mental illness during gun buys
A gun is pointed at a target at a firing range. (File/FOX Carolina)
WASHINGTON (FOX Carolina) -
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed legislation Wednesday that includes screening for mental illness during the gun-buying process.
The National Instant Check System Improvement Act would limit the restriction of gun sales to those who have been found by a court to be insane or incompetent to stand trial.
Graham used the example of a case involving Alice Boland, a 28-year-old woman who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after she was accused of threatening to kill the president, congressional members and a police officer in 2005.
In February, Graham said, Boland passed a background check while buying a gun in Walterboro. He said that Boland then took the gun to a college campus in Charleston, where she tried to kill staff members. He said Boland's gun never fired.
Graham said federal agents determined there was nothing illegal about Boland's gun purchase.
Graham said Boland's case shows that there is a major gap in the current system of background checks required when buying a gun.
"We have legislation that will make sure in the future, people who find themselves in this legal category, having gone to a federal court and pled not guilty by reason of insanity, having been judged by a federal court to be a danger to themselves or others, will no longer, legally, be able to pass a background check," Graham said.
Graham said the rule would not prevent gun sales to those who seek voluntary treatment for mental illness. It also includes reinstatement of gun ownership rights through judicial action or administrative process.
The National Rifle Association said in a written statement that it supports Graham's legislation.
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