Many states that impose the death penalty are having problems obtaining the lethal chemicals with which to inject death row inmates because U.S. and European companies are refusing to sell the chemicals or are afraid to do so because of the negative publicity.
In response to this shortage, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill on March 23 that would allow the state to use firing squads if lethal drugs cannot be found within 30 days of an execution date.
Marty Carpenter, a spokesman for Herbert, said in a statement, "Those who voiced opposition to this bill are primarily arguing against capital punishment in general and that decision has already been made in our state,” reported The Guardian.
According to the Associated Press, Herbert has described executions by firing squad to be "a little bit gruesome."
Herbert, a Republican who claims to be pro-life, signed a bill in 2012 requiring women to wait 72 hours before having a legal abortion, reported Reuters.
Both Oklahoma and Arkansas are considering bringing back firing squads, which have rarely been used since Reconstruction.
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Utah decided in 2004 to stop using firing squads, although the state left that option open for inmates to choose. Ronnie Lee Gardner chose to be shot to death in 2010.
CBS News reported last year on Maya Foa, a British activist, who has spearheaded the lethal injection shortage in Europe by publicly identifying companies that sold the deadly drug pentobarbital to U.S. prisons.