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Utah Lawmaker Plans to Bring Back Firing Squad

2 minute read

A Utah lawmaker plans to reintroduce the firing squad as a more humane form of execution, after several botched executions using lethal injections have raised a public outcry over capital punishment in recent weeks.

“It sounds like the Wild West, but it’s probably the most humane way to kill somebody,” said Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican state lawmaker from the northern Utah city of Clearfield.

Ray said he’ll introduce the controversial proposal in Utah’s January legislative session after similar efforts stalled in Wyoming and Missouri, the Associated Press reports. Utah eliminated execution by firing squad in 2004, but executed an inmate in 2010 using .30-caliber Winchester rifles, as the convict had been sentenced to death before the ban.

(More: Every execution in U.S. history in a single map)

Some have argued that a firing squad is a faster and more certain method of execution, particularly after a spate of drawn-out and miscarried deaths by lethal injection, including one in Ohio in January and another instance in Oklahoma in April.

With a firing squad “the prisoner dies instantly,” Ray said. “It sounds draconian. It sounds really bad, but the minute the bullet hits your heart, you’re dead. There’s no suffering.”


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