Idaho Bill To Allow Execution By Firing Squad Passes Legislature

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( – After passing with a majority that would be able to withstand a veto, a bill allowing for execution of condemned inmates by firing squad if the state is unable to secure drugs for lethal injection, has been sent to the governor to sign. 

Idaho would only use firing squads if the state is unable to secure the drugs needed for lethal injections. Due to the drugs for lethal injection, one inmate on death row has had multiple scheduled execution dates rescheduled.

Idaho had an option of firing squad as part of its state law up until 2009, when the use of lethal injection  was upheld by the Supreme Court. Though on its books the state never used the option of firing squad as a method of execution.

Due to states being unable to secure the drugs for lethal injections in the last few years other states have also sought to revive older methods, such as electric chairs. used for execution of condemned inmates.  Nevada used a combination of drugs, which included fentanyl, that had not been tried before in 2018. Though it has not been used, Alabama built a system that uses nitrogen gas, which then induces hypoxia

Companies that manufactured the drugs have sought to bar executioners from using the drugs for lethal injections.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little does not generally comment before signing or vetoing legislation. However, he has in the past said he supported the death penalty.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center only four other states, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah, have a law to allow for firing squads if other methods of execution are unavailable. 

In the last 13 federal executions, the federal government chose to use pentobarbital to replace the drugs used in lethal injections during the 2000’s. In 2021, Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general, issued a pause on federal executions during which time the Department of Justice could review protocols. The pause has not been lifted.

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