Sen. Bruce Burns: Bring Back Firing Squads Because Gas Chamber Is ‘Cruel And Unusual’

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Wyoming State Sen. Bruce Burns said Monday that it is “impractical” for the state to turn to gas chambers in the event that lethal injection is unavailable.

"The state of Wyoming doesn't have a gas chamber currently, an operating gas chamber, so the procedure and expense to build one would be impractical to me," said Burns, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I consider frankly the gas chamber to be cruel and unusual, so I went with firing squad because they also have it in Utah," he said.

Burns introduced the measure to amend the state constitution for the Senate’s next legislative session which begin Feb. 11.

"One of the reasons I chose firing squad as opposed to any other form of execution is because frankly it's one of the cheapest for the state," Burns said. "The expense of building a gas chamber I think would be prohibitive when you consider how many people would be executed by it, and even the cost of gallows."

The state has only one inmate on death row. The last execution in Wyoming took place in 1992

A national shortage of lethal injection drugs has delayed executions in many states. States using new death penalty drugs, like Missouri, have been subject to legal action and audits.

Ohio plans to use two drugs that have not been tested in the U.S. in an execution on Thursday.

A federal judge ruled Monday that the untested cocktail does not pose substantial risk of pain to death row inmate Dennis McGuire, 53, who was convicted of the rape and fatal stabbing Joy Stewart in 1989.

"Ohio is free to innovate and to evolve its procedures for administering capital punishment,” wrote Judge Gregory Frost.

The Missouri Department of Correction is currently being reviewed by the state auditor for using a new death penalty drug on two inmates. Another execution is scheduled there later this month.

Sources: Fox News, Newser