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Firing squad death penalty reintroduced in South Carolina despite outcry


Firing squad death penalty reintroduced in South Carolina despite outcry

Firing squad death penalty reintroduced in South Carolina despite outcry

South Carolina governor Republican Henry McMaster has signed a bill into law that forces death row inmates to choose between a firing squad and the electric chair.

Mr McMaster signed the bill on Friday, two days after the state Senate agreed to changes made to the bill by the statehouse.

The new law comes after conservatives pushed for the legislation this year, responding to hesitancy by drug companies to provide products to states looking to use them during lethal injections.

This reluctance from drug companies has meant that South Carolina has not been able to get the drugs needed to perform a lethal injection in several years.

According to The State, the previous state law meant that lethal injection was the default version of execution in the state, and if an inmate selected that method, an execution could not be done in another way. This led three inmates to receive stays of execution.

The new law dictates that an inmate must choose between firing squad, the electric chair, or lethal injection. But if the drugs necessary for the injection are unavailable, the inmate would be forced to choose between the other two methods. If no choice is made, electrocution would be the method used.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections is currently ready to perform an execution using the electric chair, but still need to figure out how firing squad executions would work in the state, according to the department’s director of communications Chrysti Shain.

Ms Shain said the department “continually trains to perform these duties,” in relation to the electric chair, making checks on a regular basis to ensure it’s ready for use.

The method of firing squad on the other hand has never been used before in the state and no system is in place for how it would work.


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