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Idaho becomes 5th state after Utah, South Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma to allow death by firing squads as companies limit use of drugs for lethal injections

The Idaho Capitol building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Boise.The Idaho Capitol building, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Boise.

Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

  • Drug companies have banned their drugs from being used in lethal injection cocktails, according to The AP. 
  • The ban has created a shortage of drugs necessary to execute death row inmates by lethal injection, the AP reported.
  • Amid the shortage, Idaho became the 5th state to reinstate death by firing squad. 

Idaho just became the fifth US state to allow the use of the firing squad as an option for the death penalty.

On Friday, Gov. Brad Little signed HB 186 The bill would allow the use of the firing squad when lethal injection isn’t available. 

The Associated Press reported that Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, and South Carolina also allow for the use of the firing squad. The AP added that the addition of executions by firing squad may become more prevalent as the US struggles with a shortage of drugs for lethal injections. 

After the US began using lethal injection as the main form of execution in the 2000s, companies began banning the use of their medication for use in the cocktail of medications needed for the injection, the AP reported. Some states have found alternative medications, while others reinstated or considered bringing back other forms of execution like the electric chair or gas chambers. 

After signing the bill, Little in a letter to the state’s Speaker of the House said he always supported capital punishment “when the justice system determines death is the only appropriate sentence for a person who committed a heinous crime.”

“The families of the victims deserve justice for their loved ones and the death penalty is a way to bring them peace,” he wrote.

Little added that the state has not “given up” on acquiring drugs necessary for lethal injection. 

The use of firing squads has been around since the 1970s with the execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977, Insider previously reported. Gilmore requested the method instead of hanging. He had been convicted of two counts of murder in Utah State Prison. The AP reported that the most recent use of the firing squad in executions was in 2010. Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed at Utah State Prison after he was convicted of killing an attorney during a courthouse escape attempt.

In both instances, the men were strapped to chairs, with a target pinned over their hearts. Then five rifles would be pointed at them from 25 feet away. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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