Monday, May 19, 2014

Bring back firing squad executions, Utah lawmaker says

Bring back firing squad executions, Utah lawmaker says

The Washington Times | May 17, 2014

A Utah GOP lawmaker says he plans to push for the state to re-adopt the firing squad for executions following a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma.

Rep. Paul Ray plans to introduce his proposal to bring back what he says is a more humane form of execution, during Utah’s next legislative session in January, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

The idea may be catching on in other states as well. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri have suggested similar legislation but both efforts stalled, AP reported.

The idea could come to fruition in Utah, a state with a history of firing squad execution, the most recent of which happened in 2010, when five police officers used .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner.

Rep. Ray says that the idea may seem far-fetched, but argues that a firing squad is more fail-proof than lethal injection for criminals facing the death penalty.

“It sounds like the Wild West, but it’s probably the most humane way to kill somebody,” Mr. Ray said. “The prisoner dies instantly. It sounds draconian. It sounds really bad, but the minute the bullet hits your heart, you’re dead. There’s no suffering.”

However, critics argue that the inmate could move or the shooter could miss, causing a slower and more painful death.

“The idea is that it would be very quick and accurate but jut a little movement by the person could change that,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

He added however, “Things can go wrong with any method of execution.”

In April, the execution of Clayton Lockett, 38, was stopped after 20 minutes when one of his veins ruptured preventing the drugs in the lethal injection from taking full effect.

Mr. Clayton died of a heart attack after the execution was halted, CNN reported.


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