South Carolina senators Tuesday added a firing squad to the electric chair as alternatives if the state can’t execute condemned inmates by way of lethal injection, reports the Associated Press. The Senate then approved the bill on a key 32-11 vote with several Democrats joining Republicans in the proposal which would allow South Carolina to restart executions after nearly 10 years. Currently, inmates can choose between the electric chair and lethal injection and since the drugs are not available, they pick the method that can’t be done.
The House is considering a similar bill without the firing squad option, but it could also consider the Senate version after a procedural vote by senators finalizes the bill later this week. South Carolina is just one of nine states that maintains an electric chair. It would become just the fourth state to allow a firing squad with Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Since the last execution was carried out in May 2011, South Carolina’s death row has dropped from about 60 inmates to 37 as of now because of natural deaths and prisoners winning appeals and being resentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors have sent just three new inmates to death row in the past decade.