Washington– South Carolina was one step closer to introducing firing squads to the US state’s execution methods amid a lack of lethal-injection drugs.
The south-eastern US state’s lower house on Wednesday voted 66 to 43 to approve the bill, which will require inmates on the death row to choose to die by firing squad or electric chair if injection drugs aren’t available, reports dpa news agency.
Republican Governor Henry McMaster pledged to sign it “as soon as it gets to my desk.”
“We are one step closer to providing victims’ families and loved ones with the justice and closure they are owed by law,” the Governor said following the lower house’s vote.
As the lower house tweaked the bill, it will need approval by the Senate, which had voted 32 to 11 to approve it in February.
South Carolina has not executed any inmates in a decade, having had to postpone three executions due to a nationwide shortage of lethal injection drugs, according to local newspaper the State.
In February, Virginia became the first state in the US south to stop executions.
The death penalty is on the decline in the US, in part due to changing public opinion, as well as the increasing difficulties in obtaining the necessary substances for lethal injections.
The imposition of the death penalty also usually leads to protracted and costly litigation.
In 2020, a total of 17 people were executed in the US by five states and the federal government, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. (IANS)