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South Carolina may become fourth state to allow executions by firing squad

6 months 4 weeks 2 days ago Thursday, May 06 2021 May 6, 2021 May 06, 2021 5:27 AM May 06, 2021 in News
Source: CNN

COLUMBIA, South Carolina - Oklahoma, Mississippi and Utah allow death row inmates the option of being killed by a firing squad, and as of Wednesday, South Carolina is one step closer to becoming the fourth state to allow death by firing squad.

According to CNN, on Wednesday, South Carolina's House of Representatives passed a bill that allows for firing squads to carry out death penalty sentences and makes electrocution a more likely means of execution.

The consideration of this possible new law may have been triggered by a problem that states across the nation have been encountering, lack of access to the lethal injections meant for death row inmates. 

CNN says difficulties finding the required drugs have paused executions in many states including South Carolina, which has not carried out an execution since 2011.

At present, lethal injection and electrocution are the two choices presented to death row inmates in South Carolina, and if an inmate picks lethal injection, the state has been unable to move forward with the execution.

Should the new bill become a law, this would change the default method of execution to electrocution if lethal injections cannot be given, and it would offer the inmate the alternative of dying by firing squad.

However, lethal injection will remain an option utilized if the drugs are available.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster confirmed Wednesday that he will sign the bill into law if it passes the state legislature.

He issued a statement, saying, "We are one step closer to providing victims' families and loved ones with the justice and closure they are owed by law. I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk." 

House lawmakers passed the bill by a vote of 66-43 and the state Senate passed a similar version in March. 

But not all lawmakers were in favor of the bill.

After the bill passed, State House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford issued a statement, saying, "It's 2021. We should move on from these barbaric forms of punishment that are more medieval than they are modern. Today, our state has taken a step backward and I am ashamed."

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a total of seventeen death row inmates were executed in the United States in 2020, sixteen by lethal injection and one by electrocution. 

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