The Idaho legislature Monday passed House Bill 186 which will allow firing squads as a method of execution, making death by firing squad the standard execution procedure if lethal injections are found to be unconstitutional. The bill also gives the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) the authority to set the procedures for firing squad executions.
The bill passed the Idaho House with a 50-15 vote and the Idaho Senate with a 24-11 vote.
In the bill’s statement of purpose, Idaho Representatives Bruce Skaug and Doug Ricks explained execution by firing squad will take place when the state is unable to use lethal injections. This, the representatives explained, will allow for executions to continue at a timely rate. The state will need to spend an estimated $75,000 to cover the cost of updating the Idaho DOC facility to meet the new execution requirements.
The ACLU of Idaho released a statement in opposition to the bill, saying, “The violence of such executions leave lasting scars on all involved. Experts have explained that those killed by firing squads likely experience extreme levels of pain and torture.” Meanwhile, Skaug insisted, “In my opinion, death by firing squad is more humane and more sure than lethal injection.”
If Idaho Governor Bill Little signs the bill into law, Idaho will join Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, and South Carolina in offering execution by firing squad as an alternative to electrocution (only in South Carolina) or lethal injection. Since 1976, states have used execution by firing squad only three times.