Idaho will allow death row prisoners to be executed by firing squad due to a nationwide shortage of lethal injection drugs in the United States.
Dwindling supplies of the necessary substances have seen more and more pharmaceutical companies ban prisons from using them to kill inmates.
Idaho has now joined Mississippi, Utah, OklahomaAND South Carolina in allowing death by firing squad if other execution techniques are not available.
South Carolina’s law is suspended pending a legal appeal, but Idaho’s bill passed through the state legislature without issue earlier this week and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brad Little.
Mr Little said: “As I sign this bill into law, it is important to stress that the fulfillment of justice can and should be done with minimum stress on prison staff.
“For people on death row, a jury convicted them of their crimes and they were legally sentenced to death.”
To know more:
An inmate on Georgia’s death row is allowed to request a firing squad instead of lethal injection
But Senator Dan Foreman, also a Republican, called the firing squad executions “below the dignity of the state.”
They would traumatize the perpetrators, witnesses and staff who he would clean up after, he said.
And state prisons department director Jeff Tewalt said he would be reluctant to ask workers to participate.
The department also estimates it will cost $750,000 (£613,000) to build or refurbish a death chamber.
How does death by shooting work?
Execution by firing squad has been an option in the state of Utah since it was reported there in 2015.
The prisoner is seated in a chair set up in front of a wooden panel and between stacked sandbags that prevent bullets from ricocheting around the room.
A target is pinned to the prisoner’s heart. Shooters aim for the chest rather than the head because it is a larger target and usually allows for a quicker death.
Five shooters positioned themselves about 25 feet (8 meters) from the chair, with their 30-caliber Winchester rifles aimed through gaps in a wall. Assuming they hit their target, the heart breaks and the prisoner quickly dies from blood loss.
The gunmen are chosen from a pool of volunteer officers, with priority given to those in the area where the crime occurred.
The identities of the shooters are kept anonymous and one of their rifles is loaded with a blank, so no one knows which officer killed the inmate.
In 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was pronounced dead two minutes after being shot at Utah State Prison. He was the last person killed by firing squad in the United States.
Electric chairs and nitrogen gas
While federal executions have been suspended since 2021, by order of the president Joe BidenAttorney General, individual states can execute them.
The problem with drug supplies has seen some states consider non-firing methods.
This includes the refurbishment of electric chairs, despite a judge ruling last year that they constitute tortureWhile Alabama he built a still unexplored system for running people who use nitrogen gas to induce hypoxia.
Mr. Biden pledged during his 2020 election campaign to work to end the death penalty nationwide, but he hasn’t pressed the issue since he became president.