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Mississippi Attorney General Asks Lawmakers To Approve Firing Squad Execution Method

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said on Jan. 27 he is asking lawmakers to consider approval for the firing squad to be used as a method of execution in case the state is blocked from giving lethal injections.

Intravenous drugs used to execute prisoners on death row have been harder to come by after European pharmaceutical companies began to block the sale of their products for lethal injections, CBS reports. Executions have been put on hold in Mississippi and Ohio as the states struggle to find the drugs.

Electrocution and nitrogen gas are two other options that Hood has asked the Mississippi legislature to explore.

"It just provides a fallback position in case there is some declaration of unconstitutionality or some of the anti-death-penalty groups are able to shut down the flow of chemicals that are required to carry out executions," Hood said of the three proposed alternative measures.

Hood has also proposed blocking public access to the names of people who would serve as the firing squad and of pharmacies that supply the state with drugs for lethal injections.

"What we're seeing is people abusing these pharmacies, the execution team, putting their names and faces and personal information up on the Internet," Hood said.

A current lawsuit in the state seeks to compel the government of Mississippi to make public information about suppliers of execution drugs, CBS reports. Attorney Jim Craig, a co-director of the organization that filed the lawsuit, said there is no evidence to support the attorney general's claims about harassment of those involved in the execution process.  

Craig said: "It is the essence of American democracy that government be conducted in the open with no secrets kept from the people. Mr. Hood's grandstanding proposal will not advance public safety or allow executions to resume. It will only launch a new round of costly and lengthy litigation."

Mississippi has never used firing squads before.

In addition to asking lawmakers to allow the use of firing squads for executions, the attorney general laid out an agenda for 2016 that includes the tightening of several criminal and election laws, reports the Sun Herald.

Sources: CBS NewsSun Herald / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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