Lawmakers in the US state of South Carolina approved a bill this week that would facilitate the use of firing squads to carry out executions if lethal drugs cannot be procured.
The state House of Representatives voted 66-43 on Wednesday to restore the execution method amid a shortage of lethal-injection drugs. Inmates on death row can currently choose between being killed by injection or via the electric chair.
Many have chosen lethal injection, which due to South Carolina’s inability to buy new fatal drugs has prevented the executions from going forward.
The state Senate already approved the bill, and after minor changes in the House it will return there to be re-approved. It will then be sent to Gov. Henry McMaster to be signed into law. The governor has previously signaled his support.
Rights groups have sharply criticized the decision to restore firing squad executions, calling an “egregious” choice.
“In an egregious decision South Carolina’s House has decided to permit the use of firing squads as one of their execution methods,” Amnesty International USA said on Twitter. “The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and must be stopped worldwide.”