04 March 2021 :
Senate adds firing squad as method of execution as it advances electric chair bill
South Carolina senators voted 32-11 Tuesday to pass S 200, a new law that would bring back the firing squad as a method of execution.
The bill passed Corrections and Penology Committee by 11-6 vote on February 2.
The original bill that the amendment was tacked on is aimed at combating a nationwide shortage in lethal injection drugs, caused by drug manufacturers who have sought to clamp down on how their products were being used.
Under current law, inmates have a choice between lethal injection and death by electrocution. If the inmate chooses lethal injection, the state cannot force them to die by means of electrocution, so, by default, the inmate’s execution gets pushed back until the state can obtain the necessary drugs.
South Carolina has been unable to obtain lethal injection drugs since about 2016. To date, the shortage has caused South Carolina to postpone two scheduled executions, with a third one looming.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster supports changing the law to allow executions to be performed using any “reasonable” and constitutional method, including the firing squad, Governor’s Office spokesman Brian Symmes said.
The Senate voted to give the bill a second reading, meaning the legislators will have one more chance to debate it before it passes the chamber. The House Committee on Judiciary passed a twin bill (H 3755) by a 14-7 vote on February 23.