On Monday, Idaho lawmakers passed a bill that would allow for execution by firing squad for those convicted of premeditated crimes, according to the legislature’s website.
State Rep. Bruce D. Skaug confirmed the decision in a statement to CNN.
“H186 has now passed the Idaho Senate and House with a veto- proof majority,” Skaug wrote in an email. “Upon signature of the governor [Brad Little, a Republican], the state may now more likely carryout justice, as determined by our judicial system, against those who have committed first-degree murder.”
In a system that routinely hands down harsher sentences to Black and Brown people, a move like this could cause irreparable damage to those awaiting clemency or reprieve.
The bill details that death by firing squad will only be employed when the state cannot obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections; an issue that has caused several states to pause executions, allowing inmates to file lawsuits that claim the injections are inhumane. Idaho will also be able to employ firing squads in situations where courts deem the usual means of carrying out death penalty sentences unconstitutional.
The bill, which passed through with a 24-11 vote from officials, also carries a pretty hefty price tag. In order to meet “safety and execution requirements for the firing squad”, the Department of Correction must be refurbished to the tune of $750,000.
If the bill is signed into law, Idaho will not be alone in the questionable choice as South Carolina, Mississippi, Utah, and Oklahoma all have approved the use of firing squads over the last decade.
Though the decision has been in effect in other states for quite some time, the last time a firing squad was actually used to carry out an execution was in 2010 for the death of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner in Utah.