South Carolina Lawmaker Proposes Bill Re-Introducing Firing Squads

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Rep. Josh Putnam believes bringing back firing squads could be the answer to lethal injection drug shortages.

In light of difficulty obtaining drugs for lethal injections, Republican state Rep. Josh Putnam of South Carolina would like to see the comeback of firing squads, and he has introduced a bill to add the method to the state's execution options.

Putnam first introduced the bill in 2015 but the legislation didn’t pass. He said the new bill would be almost identical to the prior one but he feels it’s important for creating dialogue about death penalty options in the state since lethal injections cannot be carried out at this time, due to the unavailability of the drugs needed for the lethal injections.

“We can’t carry out death penalties in the state and we need a solution,” Putnam said.

Putnam said other options are being considered, such as the electric chair, but that is not his preference.

“There is a lot of data that shows firing squad is the most effective and most humane way of putting someone to rest,” he said.

13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins agreed that lack of drugs for lethal injections is creating a problem, and he too is open to bringing back old methods of enforcing death sentences.

"The lethal injection has been deemed appropriate. It's upheld constitutional muster as well as it seems to be the less cruel of all the options, so solving that problem is ideal. If we're unable to do that then certainly, let's bring back other options."