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Firing Squad Added To Execution Methods in South Carolina



Silhouette of a detachment of military soldiers executing a criminal for the concept death by firing squad | Firing Squad Added To Execution Methods in South Carolina | featured

South Carolina’s Department of Corrections can now facilitate executions by firing squad. This makes the state of the few ones where it’s legal to carry out a death sentence this way.

Now, prisoners condemned for execution can choose this method among three options for execution.

RELATED: US Carries Out First Federal Execution in 17 Years

South Carolina Developed Protocols For Death By Firing Squad

The South Carolina State House in Columbia | South Carolina Developed Protocols For Death By Firing Squad

South Carolina’s Department of Corrections said it alerted the Attorney General’s office that they can now perform executions by guns.

Last Friday, the department reported completing its protocols and renovations for its Columbia correctional facility. This makes way for the state to accept death row inmates’ requests for death through gunfire. A three-man squad can now perform the execution. 

In addition to the firing squad, South Carolina death row inmates can also lethal injection or the electric chair for their death sentence.

The electric chair remains the state’s primary mode of execution. However, a state law passed in 2021 made changes to the death penalty policies.

Consequently, they added death by firing squad from lethal injection and electric chair as execution options. 

South Carolina Joins Three Other States

In allowing firing squad executions, South Carolina joins Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah. Unlike SC, these three states use lethal injection as the primary method of executing death row inmates.

Since 1976, Utah carried out three executions by firearms. This is according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

In fact, the last person executed through this method was Ronnie Lee Gardner. The 49-year old received the death sentence and was shot in 2010. 

Meanwhile, South Carolina last carried out a state execution in 2011. Jeffrey Motts, 36, was put to death after murdering his prison cellmate in 2005.

The state carried out his execution by lethal injection. Since the return of the death penalty in the US in 1977, South Carolina performed 43 state executions.

Currently, it has 35 inmates on death row awaiting for officials to carry out their sentences. 

South Carolina Facilities Ready

South Carolina’s state prison has a death chamber where executions are carried out. Recently, correction officials added a firing squad metal chair.

They also provided protective equipment and bullet-resistant glass panels. Specifically, this helps protect attendees required to watch the execution at the witness room. Reportedly, the state spent  $53,600 to renovate the Capital Punishment Facility.

A press statement accompanied South Carolina’s announcement. “The chamber now includes a chair in which inmates will sit if they choose execution by firing squad.

The chair is in a corner of the room away from the current electric chair, which cannot be moved,” the statement wrote.

Meanwhile, the death squad comprises a three-man group consisting of volunteer correctional employees.

Volunteers need to meet specific qualifications before being allowed to join a squad. Inmates can choose to sit down on the chair or remain standing up. 

Watch the NEWS 19 WLTX video reporting that execution by firing squad is now an option in South Carolina:

Is death by firing squad a better option compared to lethal injection or electrocution?

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What do you think of capital punishment? Also, do you think that death by firing squad serves as a more humane form of execution? Or, do the other methods such as lethal injection and electrocution are less terrifying?

Let us know what you think about executions of death row inmates. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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