Execution by firing squad. What do you think about this?

PEG MCENTEE-- Reuters

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Utah's House of Representatives voted narrowly on Friday to approve a bill that would reintroduce the use of firing squads for executions in the state.

After a short but contentious discussion, the House voted 39-34 in support of the proposal sponsored by Republican Representative Paul Ray of Clearfield that would allow the use of firing squads amid nationwide concerns about the efficacy of lethal injections.

The bill now faces a vote in the state Senate. Utah used firing squads for decades before adopting the use of lethal injections in 2004.

Ray told lawmakers that three states - Oklahoma, Ohio and Arizona - had recently carried out lethal injection executions that led to inmates' physical distress and more drawn-out deaths than are typical.

He said firing squads compared favorably: "With a firing squad, the individual dies within three to five seconds. It's a quick bleed-out," he said.

Lethal injections, on the other hand, first paralyze the person, and then "it takes a while to shut down the lungs and the kidneys, shuts down the heart. It's definitely slower, and more painful," he said.

Representative Brian King, a Salt Lake City Democrat, countered that death by firing squad was not always clean and straightforward.

"If not shot in the heart, the prisoner bleeds to death slowly," King said, adding that members of firing squads must also learn to live with the "attendant psychological trauma of participating in a cold-blooded execution."


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