Utah approves firing squad as back up execution method

We're very excited to welcome Finbarr Bunting, our new resident blogger. Here, Finn writes on the news that Utah is bringing back the firing squad.

Shocking news broke that Utah signed a bill into law that’ll see firing squads brought back as a method of capital punishment - making them the only state in the US to do so.

The bill itself, proposed by Rep. Senator Paul Ray states, “if substances are not available to carry out the death penalty by lethal injection on the date specified by warrant, the death penalty shall be carried out by firing squad.”

Gary Herbert, Utah’s governor, admitted he finds firing squads “gruesome” but said Utah needed an alternative method following limited supplies of lethal injection drugs.

As reported previously, European legislation put a stop to the supply of the drug cocktail used in the US for lethal injection - a staunch anti-capital punishment stance that echoes UK legislation from 2010.

Ralph Dellapiana of the Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty released a statement saying “execution by firing squad sends a very graphic message that belies state leaders’ commitment to respecting and protecting all human life.”

A number of different states are looking for lethal-injection alternatives following some botched executions. Wyoming is considering the reintroduction of firing squads while Tennessee is looking at bringing back the electric chair. Worrying times indeed.

Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty statement