Firing Squad-Styled Execution Could Supplement Other Forms of Death Sentence in Mississippi

By Andrew Simontacchi, Epoch Times
March 28, 2016 1:42 pm Last Updated: March 28, 2016 2:15 pm

Mississippi’s House of Representatives has drawn up an amendment pushing to execute criminals by firing squad, in the event that lethal injection is too costly or unavailable. 

The proposed house amendment, which can be found here, reads:

“In the event that death by lethal injection chemicals becomes unavailable or is deemed too costly by the commissioner of the Department of Corrections and the Attorney General, death by firing squad may be an option available to the commissioner of the Department of Corrections in order to carry out the execution.”

This is the first proposed amendment onto Senate Bill 2237, which was passed on March 25 by a vote of 80-39.

It’s very instant and about as humane as you can get while performing an execution.
— Robert FosterMississippi House of Representatives

The bill was originally motioned back in February, and focuses on protecting the confidentiality of the execution teams involved.

The Mississippi's House of Representatives has a motion pending to add a firing squad to the it's list of execution styles. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Legislature)
The Mississippi’s House of Representatives’ proposed amendment pending to add a firing squad to the it’s list of execution styles. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Legislature)

After the bill’s passing, House Representative Robert Foster said that the firing squad is more affordable, humane and effective versus lethal injection. He believes the majority of Mississippians would support the option.

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

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Utah—the only state to have executed someone by firing squad—has killed three men with the method, most recently in 2010. 

Along with Mississippi—if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or the drugs become unattainable—Oklahoma has adopted electrocution or firing squad use, Wyoming would use the gas chamber, and Tennessee would use electrocution.

The amendment’s status is currently pending.

Associated Press materials contributed to this report.