Beaufort Woman Indicted In Failed School Attack - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Beaufort Woman Indicted In Failed School Attack

Alice Boland Alice Boland

A Beaufort woman has been indicted on four charges related to a failed shooting at a private school in Charleston.

Authorities say Alice Boland, 28, illegally purchased a gun in Walterboro days before she showed up at Ashley Hall in early February with a plan to fire it at a school administrator.

A Federal Grand Jury indicted Boland today on four counts: making a false statement in order to purchase a firearm, illegally possessing a firearm because of her status as a person who had been previously committed to a mental institution or who had been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, possession of a firearm in a school zone and attempted discharge of a firearm in a school zone.

Boland has a long history of mental illness and was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial in 2005 on charges she threatened to kill then President Bush.

A judge declared her insane and sent her to a mental institution.

After the February incident, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson proposed new legislation that would keep the mentally ill from buying guns.

It would put people like Boland into a federal database that tracks mentally incompetent patients.

Had that law been in place, Wilson said Boland would have never been allowed to purchase the gun she allegedly used to try and kill a school administrator.

Last week, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Mark Begich of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Mark Pryor of Arkansas introduced legislation called The NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 that clarifies the circumstances under which a person can lose the right to have a gun because of mental illness.

Under current law certain mental incompetency adjudications are not required to be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is the clearinghouse for all new purchases.

They also noted the NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 applies to individuals whose cases are determined by an adjuctive body, such as a federal court, to be:

· an imminent danger to themselves or others;

· found guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case;

· was not guilty in a criminal case by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect;

· was incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case;

· was not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility under the Uniform Code of Military Justice;

· required involuntary inpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital;

· required involuntary outpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital based on a finding that the person is an imminent danger to himself or to others; and

· required involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital for any reason including drug use.

"The Alice Boland case is 'Exhibit A' of a broken background check system," said Graham. "An individual who pleads 'Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity' should not be able to pass a federal background check and legally purchase a gun. As astonishing as it sounds, that actually happened. Our bill addresses the Boland case, and other similar instances, to ensure that those who have been declared an imminent danger to themselves or others aren't legally able to obtain a firearm. I would expect overwhelming bipartisan support for our legislation."

The Senators also noted the legislation contains provisions to ensure Second Amendment rights are returned to individuals after they have recovered from their mental illness.

The legislation also does not apply to persons in a mental institution for observation or those who voluntarily admit themselves to a psychiatric hospital.

Boland's first two counts each carry a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Counts three and four carry a penalty of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Neither Count three nor Count four can be concurrent to any other term of imprisonment imposed as the result of a conviction for any other count.

The case was investigated by agents of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the City of Charleston Police Department and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell of the Charleston office for prosecution.

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