Idaho lawmakers introduce legislation to bring back execution by firing squad

Lawmakers in Idaho on Wednesday introduced legislation that would bring back firing squads as a method of execution.

Though never used in the state, executions by firing squads were an option in Idaho until recently, but the method was eliminated in 2009 in favor of lethal injections.

The bill — introduced by Rep. Bruce Skaug, a Republican from Nampa — would make that method possible again if the Idaho Department of Corrections fails to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injections.

Late last year, Idaho authorities could not execute Gerald Pizzuto because the state could not obtain the right drugs.

Pizzuto, who’s terminally ill, was set to be executed on Dec. 15, but the state called off the execution after IDOC officials said they were having “difficulties securing the chemicals necessary to carry out the execution.”

Under the bill, which still needs a public hearing, lethal injection would remain the state’s primary method of execution. But state authorities would have the power to assemble a firing squad when other ways are unavailable.

“The way it stands now, they may never get those materials for the lethal injection,” said Skaug, according to Boise Public State Public Radio.

“It could be indefinite that these sentences could never be carried out in Idaho,” he added.

In Idaho, there are currently eight people on death row.

Skaug, a married father of six with six grandkids “and another one on the way,” said he believes executions by firing squads are “more humane than lethal injection.”

“What I have read is there can be about 10 seconds of extreme pain before death at times,” he said.

Death by firing squad is a method of execution currently available in four states — Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina — according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit focusing on capital punishment issues.

Three inmates have been executed by firing squad in the U.S. since 1976.

With News Wire Services