Senators seek to keep guns away from mentally ill

Senators Chip Campsen (R-Charleston), Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster), John Courson (R-Richland) and others today filed a bill that will require South Carolina to comply with the NICS database for background checks for the mentally ill with gun purchases.

The bill, S.413, would require judges to submit to SLED the names of people adjudicated to be mentally ill and unsafe to own a gun. SLED, in turn, will transmit those names to the national database. When a person purchases a gun, their name can be submitted to the Federal NICS database to verify that the purchaser has not been deemed mentally ill by the South Carolina judicial system. Currently, the state does not largely participate in the database, but this legislation will to give added protections to our citizens.

“Recent violence around the country has proven how important it is that we keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” said Senator Campsen. “Sometimes we pretend like crises we see on TV can’t happen here at home, but last week’s incident at Ashley Hall shows otherwise. This is a commonsense measure we must pass to protect our families.”

Senator Gregory agrees. “The safety of South Carolinians is of utmost importance to us, especially when it comes to gun violence. This bill will be another step in preventing a tragedy similar to those in Aurora and Newtown from happening.”

“Compliance with NCIS to prevent seriously mentally ill people from buying guns is low hanging fruit that legislators on both sides of the gun debate should be able to pick together,” said Senator Gregory.

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