The South Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday, adding firing squad to the list of execution methods criminals sentenced to death penalty can choose from.
The S. 200 bill, passed by the state senate in early March, was approved Wednesday by a House vote of 66-43, according to the Associated Press. The legislation now heads to Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk for a signature. He said he would sign the bill into law, Fox News reported.
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.
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) May 5, 2021
Under the new law, convicts will have until 14 days before their execution date to choose between “electrocution, firing squad, or lethal injection… or it [the right to choose] is waived,” the bill reads. (RELATED: Serial Killer Wants A Firing Squad, Lawyers Say Method Is Less Painful)
Shortages of lethal injection drugs have stalled executions in the state for the past 10 years, according to the State. The bill’s provision to make electrocution the default mode of administering capital punishment and adding firing squads as an option is expected to jump-start executions that are long overdue, the report says.
Though there has been a bipartisan push for resumption of executions in South Carolina, the bill has opponents across the political aisle, the State reported.
“Somehow, here today we find ourselves in the position in this body to once again give a voice to that belief system that in this state, we’re a state about life, while simultaneously taking up a bill that’s not about life, that doesn’t cater to the ‘belief system’ in our state that its a state of life,” Democratic Rep. Justin Bamberg said, according to the State. “This is about death.”
“In reality, we have to ask ourselves if there is any possibility that we could be wrong in handing out a death penalty verdict,” Republican Rep. Jonathon Hill said, according to the State. “Doesn’t the death penalty make injustice permanent.”