South Carolina Allows Execution By Firing Squad

South Carolina has become the fourth U.S. state to allow an alternative method of execution. Death row inmates can now choose to be killed by a firing squad.

Many states have had problems getting drugs used for lethal injection, which is the standard form of execution in most states. Many manufacturers do not want their products used in executions. Now, South Carolina has passed a law making the electric chair the primary execution method if drugs for lethal injection are not available. Alternatively, inmates can opt for being executed by a firing squad. South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011.

The electric chair has been a controversial topic for many years, as those opposed to the death penalty say that it is an inhumane way of killing people.

The firing squad is currently allowed as a form of execution in three other states. Since 1970, three such executions have taken place. On a global scale, eight countries execute people by firing squad, including China, Iran and North Korea.

Although widespread discussion about capital punishment in the United States still going on, public support for the death penalty has gradually decreased. At the moment, the death penalty is allowed in 24 states.

Capital Punishment By States Since 1970
States in black have abolished the death penalty in the year shown on the map
Fluffy89502, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


  • alternative method = a different way
  • although = while
  • available = here: can be used or bought
  • capital punishment = when the state or government kills someone who has committed a crime
  • carry out = to do something that needs to be planned
  • controversial = much discussed with many opinions
  • currently = now, at the moment
  • death row inmate = prisoner who is waiting to be executed by a state or the government
  • decrease = go down
  • drugs = here: substance used for lethal injections
  • execution = if a state or the government kills a person as a form of punishment
  • firing squad =group of people who punish someone by shooting and killing them
  • global scale = around the world
  • gradually = slowly
  • including = also
  • inhumane = cruel and not acceptable
  • lethal injection = killing someone by putting a mixture of deadly drugs into their body
  • manufacturer = here: producer of drugs
  • opposed to = against
  • opt for = choose
  • primary = main
  • public support = here: all the people who agree with something
  • widespread = here: among many people