Utah Lawmaker Calls for Firing Squad Executions

Rep. Paul Ray: 'It's probably the most humane' method

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 17, 2014 5:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Rep. Paul Ray isn't the first lawmaker this year to call for a return to execution by firing squad—but he may be the first to get his way, the AP reports. After all, his state of Utah used a firing squad only four years ago. Officials had banned such executions in 2004, but those sentenced before that time were still allowed to opt for firing squads. Ray says all inmates should have that choice.

"It sounds like the Wild West, but it's probably the most humane way to kill somebody," the Republican notes after a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma. "The minute the bullet hits your heart, you're dead. There's no suffering." An activist against capital punishment disagrees: "The idea is that it would be very quick and accurate, but just a little movement by the person could change that." Ray intends to make his proposal in the next state legislative session, which comes in January. Meanwhile, one in five Americans reportedly supports going back to gas chambers.

In this March 6, 2013 file photo, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, makes remarks during a news conference in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Michelle Price, File)
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