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South Carolina Approves Death By Firing Squad Due To Lethal Injection Drugs Shortage

Stewart Perrie


South Carolina Approves Death By Firing Squad Due To Lethal Injection Drugs Shortage

Jails carrying out the death penalty in South Carolina will soon be carrying them out via a firing squad.

The state has agreed to the old school approach to killing an inmate because there's a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

Lethal injection usually works on a three pronged approach of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The combination, which is administered separately, helps sedates the inmate, prevents them from feeling pain and eventually kills them.

It's dubbed the most humane way the state can off someone, even though there have been some issues in the past with one or more of the drugs not kicking in as planned.

Credit: Ken Piorkowski (Creative Commons)
Credit: Ken Piorkowski (Creative Commons)

But due to a shortage in the drugs, it appears South Carolina has to bring in a new-slash-old execution method.

The state will now join Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi who have firing squads as well as the electric chair in their arsenal of state-sponsored killings.

South Carolina's Senate has approved a bill to reinstate firing squads on a 32-11 vote.

The piece of legislation had bipartisan support from several Democrats.

Democrat senator Dick Harpootlian admitted: "The death penalty is going to stay the law here for a while. If it is going to remain, it ought to be humane."

The shortage of lethal injection drugs have contributed to some death row inmates having their executions delayed, some by up to nearly 10 years. Introducing firing squad executions will allow many of these inmates to finally meet their maker.

The state hasn't had a full supply of the three drugs as far back as 2013.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Previously, an inmate could choose lethal injection as their preferred method of execution, compared to firing squad or the electric chair. They knew that because there was a shortage in the drugs, their end of days would be delayed.

But that will be a thing of the past.

Death row prisoners will now only have the option of being fried or shot if the lethal injection option isn't available.

There have only been three people sentenced to death in South Carolina in the last decade, with the last execution being back in 2013.

South Carolina's governor, Republican Henry McMaster, has asked state politicians for executions to resume now that there are options on the table.

Ironically, only last week the state essentially made it illegal to carry out an abortion. Go figure.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, US News

Stewart Perrie
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