Columbia, South Carolina — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill last week requiring death row inmates to choose between death by the electric chair or firing squad. The move comes after an involuntary, 10-year pause of executions, due to a shortage of lethal-injection drugs.
State lawmakers passed the bill with mainly Republican support in a 66-43 vote in the House according to the Washington Examiner. The new law provides lethal injection as the primary method of execution if the state possesses the drugs. But the law now requires officials to use the electric chair or firing squad if the drugs are not available.
Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah still have a firing squad as an option, and South Carolina is one of eight states that may still electrocute inmates.
South Carolina’s last execution was in 2010, and its supply of lethal injection drugs expired in 2013. Nineteen inmates have died by electric chair in the United States this century, and three inmates have been killed by firing squad since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.