Alan Wilson briefs reporters on February 19, 2013.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and lawmakers have teamed up for some new legislation they say is all about reporting those not legally allowed to buy guns and not restricting those who can.
"The federal government cannot compel a state to enforce a federal regulatory program it is up to the state to choose to opt in to the reporting requirement," said Wilson.
The bill -- which is expected to be filed this week---would instruct courts to submit information about those legally declared mentally ill to a federal database, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Wilson says it's already illegal for those who pled insanity or are deemed or declared mentally ill by the court to purchase guns, and the bill will help enforce that.
Wilson says the group has sought input from the National Rifle Association, SLED, and mental health and law enforcement groups, and says the bill has bipartisan support.
Wilson says people he doesn't think people who understand the bill will have a problem with it.
"A person who has been adjudicated in a court of law, a court with competent jurisdiction as mentally ill, and poses a threat to the community or themselves, I can't see why a reasonable or rational person would be against reporting that to a database that allows registered guns sales people, gun dealers to see these people as being flagged," Wilson said. "Remember we already have this process in the criminal background system this already exists, this is nothing new."
Lawmakers pointed to a recent case out of Charleston for why the law in necessary.
Earlier this month Charleston Police say Alice Boland, a woman with a history of mental illness, tried to shoot school officials at Ashley Hall, a private school in Charleston, but didn't know how to operate the gun.
Lawmakers say she had recently purchased the firearm and that it may have been prevented if a gun seller knew the woman accused of the crime, had been declared mentally ill.
"We don't need to wait for the gun to work before we take this step," said Charleston Rep. Leon Stavrinakis.
Ashley Hall Parents say they were more and more upset after the incident to learn details about the would-be shooters mental state -- and they're glad lawmakers are taking steps to address it.
"It's a no brainer, this is easy, we're not talking about, as they said, these aren't new gun restrictions they're not even new gun laws, the laws are already in place. This is just about sharing information so that gun store owners have it and know when not to sell somebody a gun. This is easy," said Michel Falerio, whose children attend the school.
Right now lawmakers says South Carolina is one of 12 states that do not report information about those legally declared as mentally ill to the national database. Wilson hopes that with this legislation they can join the other 39 that do.