Mississippi House approves use of ‘humane’ firing squads for executions

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The Mississippi House approved a measure to allow for the use of firing squads for executions.

Upon the recommendation of Attorney General Jim Hood, who called for alternate means of executions, the House amended Senate Bill 2237, a measure that simply made the execution process secret, according to The Associated Press..

With all the publicity surrounding botched executions by lethal injections, Rep. Robert Foster, a Republican, said a firing squad may be the most humane method available.

“It’s been one of the more common practices through history,” he said. “It’s very instant and about as humane as you can get while performing an execution in my personal opinion.”

Death penalty opponents called the measure “barbaric,” and one couldn’t help but observe that the House’s approval came on Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

“I find it frankly disgusting that in the week we’re commemorating the execution of Jesus of Nazareth, the Mississippi Legislature is so devoted to vengeance that they want to bring Mississippi back to the 19th century,” Jim Craig, a lawyer who has sued Mississippi over its current method of execution by lethal injection, said.

The AP reported:

Utah is the only American state that has executed someone by firing squad since the resumption of the death penalty, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. That nonprofit organization opposes executions and tracks the issue. Utah has killed three men by firing squad, the most recent in 2010.

Other states have begun adopting alternate methods of execution to be used if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or a state can’t obtain drugs. Oklahoma would use either electrocution or firing squad. Wyoming would use the gas chamber. Tennessee would use electrocution.


Other parts of the bill would keep secret the names of personnel performing or attending an execution as well as vendors such as pharmacies who supply the means of execution.

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