US state of South Carolina allows execution by firing squad or electric chair

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 18th May, 2021

For the implementation of the death penalty, the US state of South Carolina wants to allow shootings in the future. The governor of the state, Henry McMaster, wrote on Twitter on Monday that he had signed a corresponding amendment to the law.

Until now, an implementation of the death penalty in the state was provided by lethal injection. But in many U.S. states, lethal chemicals for lethal injections are in short supply because European pharmaceutical companies refuse to provide supplies to U.S. authorities. As a result, there have been no executions in South Carolina in recent years.

Under the amended law, those sentenced to death will now be able to choose whether to die in the electric chair or by firing squad if a lethal injection is not available.

In the U.S., the death penalty is on the decline overall. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 23 of the 50 states have abolished the death penalty to date, the most recent being Virginia. Three other states have suspended capital punishment executions, according to the report.

In states where executions still occur, administering lethal injection is the common method. However, on paper there are alternatives, which in principle include shootings. According to the non-governmental organization Death Penalty Information Center, South Carolina is now the fourth U.S. state to allow shootings in executions, after Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah. Since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 had allowed the death penalty in principle again, according to the report, only three convicts have been shot - all three in Utah.

In 2020, a total of 17 people were executed in the U.S. by five states and the federal government, according to the center. The federal government had not carried out death sentences for nearly two decades - but former President Donald Trump's administration pushed through their reinstatement. New President Joe Biden, on the other hand, opposes the death penalty.

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