Idaho just passed a "veto-proof" bill to bring back execution by firing squad
· Mar 20, 2023 ·


Idaho's legislature just passed a bill that would bring firing squads back to the Gem State.

The Republican legislature brought back the death penalty by firing squad, as it may be the most humane way to execute capital punishment.

The bill is headed to the governor's desk, but the bill was so popular in the legislature that it has a veto-proof level of support.

Firing squads will be used only if the state cannot obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections — but one death row inmate has already had his scheduled execution postponed multiple times because of drug scarcity.

Idaho is now just one of five US states that still allow execution by firing squad, although even in those states it's rarely used.

Kevin Kempf, the former leader of the Idaho Department of Corrections and executive director of the Correctional Leaders Association, said he was concerned about jails finding staff willing to execute an inmate.

"I've got to say at the same time, my thoughts go to staff members that may have to carry out something, per law, that looks like putting someone to death," Kempf told the AP during a phone interview earlier this month. "That is nothing I would assume any correctional director would take lightly, asking someone-slash-ordering someone to do that."

In reality, there have always been people willing to perform the role of executioner. The trick is finding people who want to do it for the right reasons – as a duty to their fellow citizens to see justice done, not because they want a legal reason to kill someone.

Take the case of Utah's last death by firing squad in 2010:

At the last firing squad execution, in 2010, more than 150 journalists showed up, and according to the Fordham law professor Deborah Denno, many people around the world volunteered to shoot the guns.

Somehow I don't think Idaho will have a problem finding enough good men who are willing to carry out justice swiftly, humanely, and dutifully.

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