Utah Legislators Approve Law Allowing Executions By Firing Squad

| by Ethan Brown

The state House of Representatives in Utah voted for a bill on Feb. 13 allowing executions by firing squad. The vote was 39-34 in favor of the new legislation, which now moves to the state Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

While the initial vote was tied at 34-34, three additional lawmakers were forced to vote later, all voting in the affirmative. One dissenter later switched vote, giving the supporters of the law a five vote majority, reports Associated Press.

Because states face shortages of lethal injection drugs and higher costs to purchase them elsewhere, different methods have been discussed by lawmakers around the country on how to deal with this controversial issue. While some states have tested different methods with negative results, such as last year’s Oklahoma case which left the victim suffering for nearly an hour, no other state has decided on a different method.

Some states are moving in the opposite direction on the issue. Newly elected Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, recently placed a moratorium on executions in his state, saying the issue was “based on a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive.”

Utah voted to stop allowing inmates to choose death by firing squad in 2004. 

Sources: The Huffington Post, Associated Press / Photo Credit: Conny G./Flickr