The Slatest

Utah Lawmakers Vote for Firing Squad Executions as Backup If Lethal Injection Unavailable

Target practice at ashooting range in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Utah is getting perilously close to doing a really Utah-thing and allowing death sentences in the state to be carried out by firing squads. Yes, it is 2015 even in the great state of Utah; even so, a bill authorizing firing squads passed the state legislature on Tuesday, meaning it’s up to Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, whether or not Utah reestablishes the practice it only abolished a decade or so ago.

If that all seems a bit disturbing, fear not, the firing squad is only a plan B in case the state can’t get its hands on the necessary drugs to carry out a lethal injection.  There are apparently other benefits to shooting people says the brains behind the bill, Republican Rep. Paul Ray, who “argued that a team of trained marksmen is faster and more humane than the drawn-out deaths that have occurred in botched lethal injections,” according to the Associated Press. “We would love to get the lethal injection worked out so we can continue with that but if not, now we have a backup plan,” Ray said.

Opponents of the bill say… exactly what you’d expect them to say. Gov. Herbert has not indicated whether he will sign the bill into law.