Missouri Bill Would Add ‘Firing Squad’ As Death Penalty Option

A bill introduced in the Missouri state house adds a firing squad as an option for carrying out the death penalty in the state.

The bill would give the state another option besides lethal gas and lethal injection, which has run into speed bumps because pharmaceutical companies have halted the sale of one of the drugs used in those executions.

St. Louis Today reports:

“It is unclear whether a firing squad has ever been used in the state. However, one man was shot as a means of execution in 1864, according to the ESPY File, which details executions in the United States from 1608 to 2002.

“Since 1976, more than 1,300 executions have been conducted in the United States. Only three — in Oklahoma and Utah — were by firing squad, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Oklahoma allows execution by firing squad if both injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional. Utah outlawed firing-squad executions in 2004, according to the center.”

“A firing squad would be quick and something we could do at a moment’s notice,”
one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Rick Brattin, told the paper. “My opinion is they would suffer less than with lethal injection.”

Brattin told Reuters that a firing squad is “no less humane than lethal injection.”

In reaction to the bill, Claire McCaskill, the Missouri senator, tweeted: “Not my state’s finest moment.”

The bill suggests the firing squad would be comprised of a five licensed peace officers.

The death penalty has been in the news this week, after an execution in Ohio used a novel two-drug cocktail, after the state ran out of pentobarbital.

As Mark reported, when Dennis McGuire, who was convicted of raping and slashing the throat of a 22-year-old pregnant woman, was injected with midazolam and hydromorphone, he “started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes.”

McGuire was declared dead 24 minutes after he received the injection.

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