Death Penalty: Execution by firing squad a more humane form of capital punishment?



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After a series of botched lethal injections, Wyoming and Utah are considering bringing back the firing squad as a form of capital punishment.

During execution by firing squad, the inmate is strapped to a specially designed chair. A patch is put over his heart, and his head is covered with a black hood.

Armed with 0.30-caliber Winchester rifles, five anonymous shooters, most of them law enforcement officers who have volunteered for the role, stand 25 feet away from the inmate. Each executioner fires one shot. One of the guns fires blanks, so the executioners cannot be sure if they killed the inmate.

Execution by firing squad, which has been abolished in most states, was last performed on convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner in Utah three years ago. The practice was abolished by Utah in 2004 but remained an option for Gardner because he was sentenced to death in 1985.

According to Death Penalty Info, the majority of U.S. states permit capital punishment. Lethal injection is authorized in 32 states. Electrocution is authorized in eight states. The gas chamber is still used in Arizona, Missouri and Wyoming.

Tennessee has approved a bill to reintroduce electrocution when drugs for lethal injection are in short supply.


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