Cruel and unusual: South Carolina looks to revive horrifying ways to inflict the death penalty
South Carolina state legislature has voted to pass a bill to include the firing squad as a method of execution for inmates on death row due to lack of drugs for lethal injection.
According to The Hill, South Carolina House lawmakers on Wednesday, May 5, voted 66-43 in favor of the bill after the state Senate advanced the piece of legislation back in March. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has signaled that he will sign the bill into law, making his state one of four across the country to include the method for execution.
The latest bill has been met with opposition from civil liberties activists. Following the South Carolina Senate vote, ACLU South Carolina executive director Frank Knaack said weighed in with his concerns as he described the death penalty as "racist, arbitrary, and error-prone."
"Proponents of this legislation argued that the state is unable to carry out death sentences because it cannot get access to lethal injection drugs, therefore the legislature must provide an alternative method of execution," Knaack wrote. "To support this argument, you have to assume that South Carolina's death penalty system is fair and accurate."
With three of the 37 South Carolina death inmates out of appeals, Democratic lawmakers argue that they have become casualties of the new controversial bill. Rep. Justin Bamberg (D-S.C.) expressed concern about the inmates who could be killed as a result of the bill.
"Three living, breathing human beings with a heartbeat that this bill is aimed at killing," said Bamberg, "If you push the green button at the end of the day and vote to pass this bill out of this body, you may as well be throwing the switch yourself."
However, Republican lawmakers are posing a united front in defense of the bill they have voted to pass. Rep. Weston Newton (R-S.C.) said, "Those families of victims to these capital crimes are unable to get any closure because we are caught in this limbo stage where every potential appeal has been exhausted and the legally imposed sentences cannot be carried out."
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