Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Utah Proposes Firing Squad for Executions

 / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Ten years after banning the use of firing squads in state executions, Utah lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to allow the practice again to avoid problems with lethal-injection drugs.

The proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield would call for a firing squad if the state cannot obtain the lethal injection drugs 30 days before the scheduled execution. Utah dropped firing squads out of concern about the media attention, but Ray said it's the most humane way to execute someone because the inmate dies instantly.

"We have to have an option," Ray told reporters Wednesday. "If we go hanging, if we go to the guillotine, or we go to the firing squad, electric chair, you're still going to have the same circus atmosphere behind it. So is it really going to matter?"

An interim panel of Utah lawmakers approved the idea on a 9-2 vote Wednesday. The proposal still needs to go through the full legislative process once lawmakers convene for their annual session in January. Under current law, death by firing squad is only an option for criminals sentenced to death before 2004. It was last used in 2010.

For years, states used a three-drug combination to execute inmates, but European drugmakers have refused to sell them to prisons and corrections departments out of opposition to the death penalty. That move has led states to use different types, combinations and doses of lethal drugs, but those methods have been challenged in court.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Leave your email if you’d like us to respond. (Optional)

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.