Due to a nationwide shortage in lethal injection drugs, Utah wants to reinstate firing squads as method of execution. This alternative is planned to be used only when lethal injections are not available.
Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield, the bill’s sponsor, says this measure would be a “more humane method of execution” as a team of trained to this is faster and more effective in comparison the recent failed cases of inactive lethal injections.
Opponents, on the other hand, consider this to be a cruel method that had been removed ten years ago from the list of allowed methods of execution for a reason.
It is currently unknown if the bill will actually become law. Gary Herbert, a Utah Gov. Republican didn’t want to give details regarding his choice for or against signing this measure. His spokesman, Marty Carpenter later made a statement on his behalf, saying that this method would give the state a legitimate alternative in case there is a shortage of lethal drugs.
After a recent defective execution by lethal injection in Oklahoma, Utah is one of several states looking for an alternative to this method of capital punishment. Another similar case took place in Arizona when 2 hours were needed for the condemned man to die.
Some states, like Arkansas have already allowed firing squads in circumstances where lethal injections are not available. Oklahoma lawmakers seek to allow nitrogen gas as alternate method of execution.
The shortage in lethal substances used in executions comes after European manufacturers decided to stop selling these products to U.S. prisons and correction departments due to their opposition regarding death penalties.
Texas is in the worst condition, having enough lethal drugs for only two more cases that are planned somewhere in the next two weeks.
Utah prison system management declared the state finished their supply of lethal injections and that it will need to obtain some in the following years if cases of execution appear.
The Death Penalty Information Center points out that firing squads aren’t always effective. There are reported cases where the inmate moved or the shooters missed the heart, leading to a slower, more painful death which is the exact opposite of what this method of capital punishment is supposed to be like.
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