South Carolina Votes To Bring Back Firing Squad Executions
South Carolina has voted to bring back firing squad executions.
The vote took place yesterday, May 5, almost 10 years to the date of the state’s last execution. It was voted 66-43 in favour of the bill, meaning South Carolina is now the fourth US state to add death by firing squad to its list of execution methods.
It’s believed that one of the reasons they wanted to bring back firing squad executions is due to South Carolina’s limited supply of lethal injections.
The new bill will now allow death row inmates to choose whether they’d prefer to die by firing squad or electric chair, should lethal injection not be available.
There are still several inmates awaiting execution in South Carolina – three of whom are now out of appeals, AP News reports. In total, there are 37 inmates on death row.
Despite receiving a majority vote, some still oppose the bill.
Democratic Representative Justin Bamberg said:
Three living, breathing human beings with a heartbeat that this bill is aimed at killing. If you push the green button at the end of the day and vote to pass this bill out of this body, you may as well be throwing the switch yourself.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Weston Newton said, ‘Those families of victims to these capital crimes are unable to get any closure because we are caught in this limbo stage where every potential appeal has been exhausted and the legally imposed sentences cannot be carried out.’
Despite his comments, death sentences may be on the decline in South Carolina, as only three people since 2011 have been sent to death row.
The passing of the bill yesterday comes after the Senate approved the bill back in March, when they voted 32-11 in favour of it. The House had only made minor changes to the March version, AP News reports.
Opposing Democrats in the House offered several amendments, including not applying the new execution rules to current death row inmates and livestreaming executions on the internet.
They also suggested outlawing the death penalty outright and requiring lawmakers to watch executions. All failed, however.
Now, after a routine final vote by the House, the Senate will sign it off and send it over to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. McMaster has already voiced his intention to sign it.
As it stands, 27 US states have the death penalty, while 23 don’t.
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