Utah is currently the only state to allow a firing squad when carrying out a death penalty. The state Senate has recently passed a bill on this matter because of the nationwide shortage of lethal drugs.
Paul Ray of Clearfield, the Republican who proposed the bill, claim that the firing squad is a more “humane” alternative to the lethal injections which often result in slow, drown-out deaths when the procedure is not properly carried out.
Mr. Ray explained that Utah can still carry out death penalties by using lethal drugs, but if none is available, the firing squad is its plan B. But opponents believe that allowing firing squads in Utah is as barbarous as living during the Wild West days. Additionally, Utah will get a bad reputation.
Ralph Dellapiana, one of the opponents and chief of the Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, described the new execution method as “a relic of a more barbaric past.” Mr. Dellapiana also argued that Utah should consider whether the execution of its citizens is a good thing to do, not how to do it.
But the chances of such a bill to turn into a law in the forth most-conservative state are unclear. Gary Herbert, the Utah governor and a Republican, declined to disclose whether he will sign the bill. However, his spokesperson did acknowledged this week that the firing squad would come in handy if no execution drugs are available.
Anna Brower, a civil rights advocate in Utah, hopes that the governor won’t sign the bill into law. She also said that the firing squad would make the state “look backwards and backwoods.”
However, there was a tight vote on the bill in February in the House since extra lawmakers had to be called to express their vote. However, the bill now passed through the Senate on a 18-10 vote on Tuesday. But no debate took place beforehand. Still, four Republicans and the majority of democrats oppose the bill.
Gene Davis, one of the Democrats who voted against the bill, said the firing squad was just an alternative to something that needs to be removed altogether.
The sponsor of the bill said that no debate was required because many Utah lawmakers had already had their own ideas on the issue. Only a few had to be persuaded to support the bill, but that was an easy call since Utah law already states that the state should revert to firing squad if a judge rules the lethal injection unconstitutional, Mr. Ray also said.
Image Source: Daily Mail
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