South Carolina lawmakers pass bill to allow execution by firing squad
@WikiMedia (Florida Department of Corrections/Doug Smith)
South Carolina lawmakers pass bill to allow execution by firing squad

The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would enable convicted individuals to elect for execution by firing squad, rather than electrocution or lethal injection.

The bill passed by a vote of 66-43 and requires that, if an individual waives his right to choose, execution will be administered by electrocution. A similar bill passed the South Carolina Senate in March by a 32-11 vote. If this bill is signed into law, South Carolina will be the fourth state to allow death penalty inmates to elect for execution by firing squad.

In a statement, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared: “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.”

The bill was passed in light of difficulties accessing the drugs required to administer the lethal injection and provides that an individual may only select lethal injection if it is available. Otherwise, unless the inmate chooses execution by firing squad, the inmate will face death by electrocution. There are currently only eight states which provide for execution by electrocution.

This version of the bill must be approved by the South Carolina Senate before it is sent to Governor McMaster.