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South Carolina State House Passes Bill Allowing Firing Squads For Executions

In South Carolina, the State House passed a bill by a vote of 66-43 on Wednesday adding firing squads to the approved methods of execution.  The law requires death sentenced prisoners to choose between a firing squad or electric chair if lethal injection medications are not available at the time.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster weighed in and Tweeted, “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.”

There is a national shortage of the required lethal injection medications, prompting the need for more options.  Once the bill is signed, South Carolina will be one of four states allowing firing squads, including Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah.

The shortage of lethal injection drugs has often caused prosecutors to seek guilty pleas with guaranteed life sentences rather than seeking the death penalty.  South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011.