Will Some States Reinstate Firing Squads To Replace Lethal Injections?


The question for states facing profound problems with the lethal injection protocol is whether to bring back the firing squad as an execution option, especially in light of the botched Oklahoma execution-by-injection of Clayton Lockett in April, says the Christian Science Monitor. Utah is the latest of several states where legislators have proposed replacing lethal injection with more anachronistic execution solutions including firing squads, so far unsuccessfully.

The last execution by firing squad took place in Utah in 2010, where five state police sharpshooters simultaneously aimed and fired at convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner, killing him with shots to the heart. It was the third death by firing squad in the U.S since the Supreme Court overturned a death penalty ban in 1976. (Despite all US states now banning firing squads, some inmates in Utah and Oklahoma can still choose firing squad, given grandfather provisions in the law, which is how the Gardner execution happened.) In a recent NBC News poll, Americans showed openness to exploring options other than lethal injection in order to keep the death penalty in place. One in 3 said the death penalty should be abolished if states can't perform humane lethal injections.

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