South Carolina, one step away from approving execution as a method of execution. The lack of drugs to carry out the death penalty has meant that no one has been executed in a decade. If approved, it would become the fourth state in the country to allow firing squads.
With 65 votes in favor , 45 against and 11 abstentions, the South Carolina House of Representatives approved this Thursday a bill that includes the firing squad as an alternative to lethal injections to execute prisoners sentenced to death penalty. Currently, 39 people are on death row in South Carolina.
The difficulty of obtaining drugs for executions has done that for 10 years has not produced any in the state, as explained by local newspaper The State , which also noted that South Carolina has had topostpone up to three death sentences for lack of resources. Not only that, the state Chamber has also approved the execution of these three inmates whose deaths had been postponed.
To this day, prisoners can choose between dying by lethal injection or the electric chair , but the lack of drugs has meant that the options are reduced only to the chair. By including the option of execution , they again have two options. If the state Senate finally approves this method, the governor, Republican Henry McMaster, has pledged to sign the legislation “as soon as it gets to his desk.”
“We are one step closer to providing the families of the victims and their loved ones with the justice and closure that corresponds to them by law,” said the governor.
McMaster’s signing would make South Carolina the fourth US state to implement this form of execution after Oklahoma , Mississippi and Utah . “We should leave behind these barbaric forms of punishment that are more medieval than modern,” the leader of the House Democrats, Todd Rutherford , said in a statement .
“Today, our state has taken a step back and I am ashamed, ” he insisted. “The irony is that the South Carolina House of Representatives is debating the death penalty and the electric chair while the state Senate is debating free gun ownership.. However, this state is considered pro-life and Christian “, has denounced, the also democrat Deon Teddder.
Death penalty in the USA
This bill clashes with Virginia’s decision , which in March became the first southern US state to abolish the death penalty after 400 years . According to the Information Center on the Death Penalty, only 24 states have annulled the death penalty in the country and, so far this year, three people have been executed nationwide at the hands of the state government .
Support for capital punishment has been falling over the years. According to Gallup, support for this punishment went from 80% in 1994 to less than 65% in 2006, a trend that has continued to drop to 55% in 2020.