COLUMBIA, SC — The federal government will spend nearly $1 million to improve background checks for South Carolina gun purchases.
The Department of Justice has awarded the State Law Enforcement Division a grant of more than $900,000, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles announced Friday, to improve the National Criminal Background Check System. NICS is used to verify who is eligible to purchase a firearm.
Several recent events, including one in Charleston, have highlighted communication problems between the NICS system and mental health information. Alice Boland was charged in February of attempted murder after a failed attempt to shoot two employees at Ashley Hall, an all-girls prep school in Charleston. She had been found mentally ill but was able to legally purchase a handgun. No one was injured in the attempt.
In a release, Nettles said the grant will help state, local and federal law enforcement enforce laws that prohibit individuals found to be mentally ill or committed to mental health institution from owning a gun.