Mar 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

South Carolina OKs firing-squad executions

South Carolina State Flag

South Carolina state flag. Photo: Getty Images

The South Carolina Department of Corrections can now carry out executions by firing squad for death row inmates who choose the method, the department said Friday.

Why it matters: The state becomes just the fourth to allow the method, joining Mississippi, Utah and Oklahoma. Only three people have been executed by firing squad since 1976, according to NPR.

Context: "The legislation, which became law on May 14, 2021, makes the electric chair the state’s primary means of execution while giving inmates the option of choosing death by firing squad or lethal injection if those methods are available," the department said in a news release.

  • The capital punishment facility at the Broad River Correctional Institution has been renovated to include the capacity "to perform an execution by firing squad," per the release.
  • Members of the firing squad are volunteer department employees who must meet certain qualifications.
  • The department spent about $53,600 on supplies and materials to make these changes, comply with the law and add safety precautions, per the release.

The big picture: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill last year to require death row inmates to choose between firing squad or the electric chair as a lack of drugs for lethal injections stalled executions.

  • There are currently no scheduled executions in South Carolina, CNN reports.

Go deeper: S.C. governor signs bill requiring death row inmates to choose firing squad or electric chair

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