Governor Brings Back Firing Squads for Death Penalty – Is It the Future of Execution?

Idaho Governor Brad Little has enabled the use of firing squads for carrying out executions by signing a new bill into law. Republican Gov. Little claimed that the decision to approve the bill was necessary to ensure that lawful criminal sentences are executed, as prescribed by a jury of the convict’s peers. “Throughout my life in public service, I have supported capital punishment when our justice system determines death is. the only appropriate sentence for a person who committed a heinous crime. The families of the victims deserve justice for their loved ones and the death penalty is a way to bring them peace,” Little wrote following signing the bill.

This new legislation came about as a result of a temporary halt to the execution of Gerald Pizzuto Jr. This was initiated due to an unavailability of the drugs typically used for administering lethal injections. Pizzuto has been on death row for over thirty years for the 1985 murders of Berta Herndon and her nephew Del Herndon. Nowadays, some pharmaceutical companies have stopped the sale of certain drugs to states for use in capital punishment due to ethical reasons. Nevertheless, numerous states have needed to look for alternative methods for carrying out lawful sentences for prisoners on death row, as the supplies of such drugs dwindle.

Firing squads seem to be one of the acceptable alternatives; however, there is still debate regarding whether this method causes unbearable pain. As one who reportedly acknowledged the need for capital punishment, Republican Idaho state Sen. Dan Foreman argued that it would be beneath the dignity of the state of Idaho if firing squads were selected in place of lethal injection. According to Foreman, the use of firing squads could traumatize executioners and result in emotional distress for the individuals who have to do the clean-up. Lawyers had suggested that firing squads would be more humane as the sedative pentobarbital inadvertently simulates the same effects felt in drowning, thus minimizing pain.

Regardless of the controversy, Idaho is now the latest state to allow death by firing squad after South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma, and Mississippi approved a similar law. South Carolina’s execution law is currently under legal challenge; thus, valid concerns are being raised about the constitutionality of this method’s use in some states.

Written by Staff Reports

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