Half of the Wyoming legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would permit firing squads to be used in executions in the state, though it still must be approved by the state Senate before it can be signed into law.
The Wyoming House of Representatives narrowly passed the bill, called Senate File 13, which would call up firing squads to carry out executions in the event lethal injection drugs weren’t available, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Wyoming’s Senate had a chance to pass the bill on Thursday but could not get enough votes for concurrence on an amendment adopted in the state House. The Senate will try again on Tuesday and if the bill is approved it will go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The state Senate previously passed the bill, but an amendment was added in the House, requiring another Senate vote. The amended bill says that death row inmates be given anaesthesia and rendered unconscious before being shot by the firing squad.
Objections about lethal injections have caused some drug makers to refuse to supply states with the necessary drugs, leaving some states hustling to approve alternate methods of execution. A high-profile botched execution last year in Oklahoma – in which the man being executed was writhing in pain – has raised questions over the constitutionality of lethal injections.
The US Supreme Court this year halted a few Oklahoma executions to give the court time to argue over lethal injections.
Even if the firing squad is approved in Wyoming, it is not certain the state will ever use it. The state has no prisoners on death row and the last execution in the state was in 1992.
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