02:16 GMT +307 December 2019
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    This file photo shows the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. Utah's Gov. Gary Herbert will not say if he'll sign a bill to bring back the firing squad but does say the method would give Utah a backup execution method.

    Utah Lawmakers Vote to Permit Use of Firing Squad for Executions

    © AP Photo / Trent Nelson, Pool, File
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    The state's Senate voted to allow the use of firing squads for executions if lethal injection drugs can not be obtained 30 days before a death row inmate is set to die.

    The bill, which passed 18-10 and is on its way to the governor's desk, would make Utah the only state to allow firing squads for use in enforcing the death penalty if lethal injection drugs aren't available.

    Governor Gary Herbert would not say whether he'd sign the bill, but he did say the move would give Utah a "backup" method for executing prisoners.

    Republican Rep. Paul Ray, who is behind the bill, says death by firing squad is more humane, and that the bill's intent is to give the state an option as the US faces a nationwide shortage of lethal injection drugs.

    The bill barely survived the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee early last month, narrowly advancing after a 5-4 vote.

    Opponents of the move call death by firing squad a cruel holdover from the state's Wild West days, the Associated Press reported.

    Utah banned the use of firing squads more than a decade ago. The last inmate to die by firing squad was Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010. The convicted murderer chose execution method before it was abolished in 2003.

    Legislation to allow firing squads has been introduced in Arkansas this year. In Wyoming, a measure to allow firing squads if the lethal drugs aren't available died. In Oklahoma, lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow the state to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates.

    Oklahoma currently is the only state to offer firing squad, and only if lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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