Idaho is close to allowing the use of firing squads for executions.
House Bill 186 was passed by a 24-11 vote by the Idaho Senate on Monday, meaning the bill is now headed to Governor Brad Little’s desk with what’s known as a veto-proof majority. Per a report from KTVB, the bill previously passed the House earlier this month in a 50-15-5 vote.
Firing squads would be used as a backup option for executions, specifically in instances in which lethal injections is not available. As has been widely discussed, and not just in Idaho, the cost and availability of the drugs used in lethal injection executions has proven to be a hurdle in numerous regions.
The bill states that executions should be carried out via “intravenous administration of a lethal quantity of a substance or substances” approved by state officials “or firing squad.” The latter option, widely criticized as inhumane, shall be utilized in the event that “lethal injection is unavailable.”
Per a fiscal note attached to the bill, it’s estimated that the Idaho Department of Correction will incur a “one-time cost” of approximately $750,000 to prepare its facility to firing squad safety rules.
Leo Morales, ACLU Idaho’s executive director, called the legislation “appalling’ in a statement shared Monday.
“The ACLU of Idaho strongly opposes the death penalty in any form as a violation of an individual’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment,” Morales said, adding that the firing squad option is “particularly gruesome” for all involved.