Utah Governor Reinstates Firing Squads

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill into law Monday that would permit the use of firing squads when no lethal injection drugs are available to execute individuals on death row.

“Those who voiced opposition to this bill are primarily arguing against capital punishment in general and that decision has already been made in our state,” said Marty Carpenter, spokesman for Gov. Herbert, in a statement

“We regret anyone ever commits the heinous crime of aggravated murder to merit the death penalty and we prefer to use our primary method of lethal injection when such a sentence is issued,” Carpenter continued. “However, when a jury makes the decision and a judge signs a death warrant, enforcing that lawful decision is the obligation of the executive branch.”

According to Herbert’s office, 34 states administer capital punishment, of those, all use lethal injection as the primary method of execution, eight use electrocution as a secondary method, four use a gas chamber, three use hanging and two use firing squads.

Under the language of the new law, a court hearing would be held at least 30 days before the execution at which time a judge would evaluate whether lethal injection drugs are available. Should they not be available, the criminal would be executed at the hands of a firing squad.

Convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last individual executed by a firing squad in the U.S. He was fatally shot on June 18, 2010. Gardner was a Utah resident who had been on death row since 1985. In 2004, the Legislature changed the law to make lethal injection the primary means of execution but since Gardner was grandfathered in to the previous statute, which allowed condemned criminals to choose their method of execution, he was allowed to go out before a firing squad.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • TLB February 10, 2017, 1:07 pm

    The truth of the matter is this: we are all capable of killing. Don’t believe it, think about the necessity for survival. We like to think that we are civilized and morally superior, we are not. If we were, we would have eradicated evil from the face of the Earth long long ago. Instead we legislate so we do not have to face the truth – we are killers. Let us acknowledge that fact and use it for the betterment of all mankind, use it to thwart evil.

  • Russ April 1, 2015, 8:28 pm

    With the High cost of ammo these days, I would deem the firing squad a big waste.
    Can’t you just drop them off a high building and make fertilizer?

  • Pete March 31, 2015, 5:13 am

    About time. I am tired of hearing attorneys cry about “inhumane” and “cruel”. Punishment should be unpleasant, otherwise it does not deter. Just look at our jails, obviously the conditions there are too pleasant so there is no reason to avoid them. Now we need it limited appeal process, and in the case of people like Jared Loughner ( AZ, Tuscon – Giffords shooting) we should not even bother with a trial. He was very obviously guilty and keeping him alive is just a waste of money.

  • dustyrusty March 30, 2015, 4:16 pm

    It’s too bad we can’t speed up the process from jail to trial to execution. For those who would like to keep the condemned locked up, consider the additional murders committed while still incarcerated. Not to mention the possibility of escape. Also, consider the financial cost of the lock up. The whole court system needs revamping to make it run more like an efficient business, rather than the bureaucratic maze that it has become. If you’ve ever had jury duty, you’d understand that there is no efficiency in the courts.

    • petru sova March 31, 2015, 12:49 pm

      History has proven you wrong. Speeding up trials guarantees even more innocent people will be executed. Even people who have been locked up for 20 and 30 years are often found out later to be totally innocent as a rash of such cases has recently been made public. Of course speeding things up to kill more innocent people is considered only collateral damage by kill mongers unless of course one of them happens to be a member of your family that was innocent.

  • Tootie March 30, 2015, 3:51 pm

    Personally, I would like to see public hangings become the execution method nationwide. Smaller costs are involved and I bet people would line up for the chance to pull the lever to send the scum on their way to heII.

    • Jonathan G. Van Winkle February 9, 2018, 12:44 pm

      The person’s next of kin should be allowed to pull the trap door if they wish,it is Biblical .

  • Kalashnikov Dude March 30, 2015, 2:58 pm

    “We regret anyone ever commits the heinous crime of aggravated murder to merit the death penalty and we prefer to use our primary method of lethal injection when such a sentence is issued,” Carpenter continued. “However, when a jury makes the decision and a judge signs a death warrant, enforcing that lawful decision is the obligation of the executive branch.” Imagine a governor carrying out the decision of duly convened jury! How reckless and irresponsible! Recall this man, and charge him before King Obama! Off with his head! Oh, um, wait a minute……

  • Petru Sova March 30, 2015, 9:50 am

    While most if not all of the advanced industrialized Nations have long ago banned capital punishment the barbarous U.S. is not far behind some of the Middle East States who also relish blood and torture (also practiced with relish by the former Busch Hitlerites). With the new DNA testing we are finding more and more cases of people being convicted and being executed for crimes they never committed which of course are simply written off by the barbarous right wing death fanatics as mere collateral damage.

    History has proven if you are a minority you are far more likely to go to prison or be executed for a crime you never committed and if you are White or a Woman you are far more likely to get a lighter sentence. If you are a Cop local prosecutors in bed with the police and who often have blood relatives with the police departments make it all but nearly impossible to even indict a police officer for even spitting on the side walk. Law enforcement has fought tooth, nail and claw to ever be required to hand over shooting cases to independent prosecutors that would be far more likely to let the case go to trial to prove guilt or innocence. Reminds you of Nazi Germany or the Russian judicial systems to this very day as there really is little or no difference much to the delight of right wing death fanatics who even after 14,000 years of executions have not woke up to the fact that Capital punishment does not prevent murder and that there really is such a thing as mental illness which is not the result of being possessed by demons or the result of witchcraft.

    • Another POV March 30, 2015, 10:55 am

      You lost me with “Busch Hilterites” and “Right Wing death fanatics”. What the hell are those anyway? You do realize you sound just as nuts as the groups you are tying to villianize? Your stats are also sensational and have been debunked countless times. You need better leftist propaganda. By minorities, I assume you man blacks and hispanics. Asians are a minority and they don’t follow your example. Black and hispanics commit far more crimes proportionally than whites. That’s the reason they are more likely to be convicted. There are a lot of reasons for that but I don’t want to debate the “why” at this point. Also, most “advanced industrialized nations” enjoy a much higher rate of violent crime than the U.S., so please stop holding up these nations and an example of what we should become. As far as mental illness goes, you appear to be a good case for study. The rest of us haven’t really considered witchcraft or demon posession as valid forms of metnal illness for a couple of hundred years now. Until the visa line outside any US consulate in the world becomes non-existant, I would say the U.S. is doing just fine. You, however, are free to move to any country you want and enjoy the “freedoms” found in places like Angola or Mexico. Both places which have outlawed the death penalty but seem to be struggling with the whole “peaceful society” thing.

      • Petru Sova March 30, 2015, 9:34 pm

        So the U.S. is doing just fine eh? Even before DNA came to be it was proven the U.S. had executed over 200 innocent people and now that DNA is being used just in the last 2 months we have had a wave of findings about people who were executed or came very close to being executed because of being wrongly convicted . Right Wing Death Fanatics never admit that when you make a mistake like this you cannot go back and correct it.

        As a matter of record inmates who admitted they were guilty of murder claimed that life sentences were far more punishing than execution because being in prison was a living death while real death relieved the convicted of all pain and suffering of being in prison. If the death fanatics had not been asleep or in la la fantasy land they would have noticed that Timothy McVeigh waved all appeals because he wanted the easy way out and actually laughed at the camera when he died as if to say I beat you idiots at your own game which of course is what he actually did.

        Civilized countries to name just a few like France, Britain, Germany, Holland look at the U.S. as little if any different that the barbarism that still reigns supreme in some Middle East Countries with the Death Fanatics lusting after torture as well in the U.S. little realizing that in Nazi Germany torture and murder did not happened all at once. They used the same excuse as the Busch Administration did. Trust us we are just torturing this one group today but tomorrow more and more groups were added until everyone was on the hit list in Nazi Germany. Yet Right Wing U.S. Fanatics know little if anything of history and believe that “It could never happen here”. Sorry folks it already has and that is why Obama put a stop to it before it got out of hand and everyone in the U.S. would sooner than latter been in the torture cells for even spitting on the side walk. I am still appalled by Right Wing Fanatics who to this very day often tell me “Hitler was not such a bad guy he just got a little carried away” as his philosophy was actually the correct one. Sends chills up the spine of civilized people.

        Under Busch if the torture had been kept the U.S. would have been in very serious trouble in another conventional war. It must be remembered that in WWII thousands of U.S. Service men for the most part were treated very well by the Germans because they knew we were not torturing or killing the German prisoners of war while on the other hand the Germans and Russians murdered each other by the tens of thousands as both sides knew the other side was using torture and murder on their soldiers.

        • ejharb June 22, 2017, 7:25 pm

          Cut back on the fool aid and maybe your terminal idiocy will go into remission

      • petru sova March 30, 2015, 9:36 pm


    • Pete March 31, 2015, 5:23 am

      So what? I think a rather nasty, painful and public death would be a good way to deter crimes. Or better then that, tissue type and vivisect for transplants, that way they can save lives and pay back society in some form or another. In some case just give them paralytic agent and let them feel the pain of a thousand cuts as their organs are removed one by one. BTW, I do not consider mental illness to be an excuse. If you are that mentally ill that you commit a crime warranting capital punishment, you are too far gone to be ever cured. Better to permanently remove the threat, lest the offender is released from psych ward claiming to be cured, only to commit the offense again. The mentally ill always go off their meds, usually with bad consequences. Considering we have seven billion mouths to feed on this planet a few scum won’t be be missed. As a matter of fact their physical remains would be a great source of agricultural fertilizer to feed the masses. As far as I am concerned, the moment you commit certain crimes you lose all protections and benefits of the society you live in, as by committing the crime you state that society’s rules do not apply to you. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    • Tom February 9, 2018, 10:24 pm

      I’m curious, who is this person “Bucsh” you’re referring to?
      Adolphus Busch, the founder of Budweiser and Busch Brewing Companies? You’ve obviously done your share of research into their products.

  • Joe McHugh March 30, 2015, 8:11 am

    How a state executes a condemned felon is really a minor point when you consider the results. Dead is dead and the wishes of the felon should not be important. He or she has lost all rights to determine the method of execution.

    For those of you who actually care about such things, the guillotine was surest and quickest way to end a person’s life. The only drawbacks were the prior psychological effects on the wretch to be executed, and the mess left over to be cleaned up.

    That brings us to the major point about executions. Why is it that the execution of an infamous person is widely covered by the media while other executions only rate a small notice on a back page of a news paper? You might think of many reasons for the different levels of interest in these proceedings. To deny that a lesson is afforded by any execution is to deny human emotions. While some might experience relief when learning that a serial killer of children will never kill another child, others will understand that if THEY commit a future heinous act, they could face the same end.

    However, that lesson is lost on the low life scum who seldom watch the news on the TV or are illiterate. Many of these “citizens” are only concerned about getting money for more drugs. The sanctity of another’s life is not a factor for these
    “human beings”.

    But what about the borderline mentality of those who might consider robbing a mom and pop store? What if such an individual ends up killing an innocent person that ties to defend his or her property? The possibility of a trial and conviction that results in a sentence of death might cause that would-be criminal to rethink other ways to get money.

    I suggest that the public executions of yesteryear served a purpose, the purpose of deterrence. The public has been told that public executions never deter crime but if that is really true why do 34 states still administer capital punishment? Considering the long drawn out appeals process, it would be much cheaper to keep the convicted behind bars than seek to impose the death penalty for decades. And what might be another reason that those 34 states keep the death penalty on the code books? Yup, the public demands the execution of those people who have behaved so badly, that only capital punishment would assuage the collective public sentiment.

    Instead of worrying about the method of execution we should consider public executions to educate all members of society about heinous crimes and capital punishment.

    • Doc Loch March 30, 2015, 11:19 am

      I agree for the most part with your comments, but would like to add a priority. The reason for capital punishment is prioritized. First: Capital Punishment to to make certain that persons who create victims can never create another victim. The State is tasked with the responsibility (by the people) to make sure that those who have violated the rights of others in the supreme way, who have proven that they will violate others rights by using their own to do it, are not able to do so again. Secondarily, there is a slight deterrent effect of discipline/consequences to those who are “educated” about the consequences of violating the rights of others. It should be noted, that punishment should first be aimed at assuring that new victims cannot be created by know violators. There should be no motive for revenge or vengeance, or torture, or any “evil” motive. These bad motive are bad, because they bring misery in and of themselves. It should also be noted that as valiant as “prevention” seems, it is a Utopian pipe dream. While one can in reasonable ways try to prevent victims from being created by others, this is a dangerous and slippery slope. First, no law/rule/regulation can ever surely PREVENT anything…EVER! A death penalty can, but this, of course, should be reserved for those who have proven that they cannot be prevented from committing heinous crime by moral imperative. Never should the rights of a person be constrained by law until they have proven their inability to be constrained by their own conscience. This topic which is already too long for a comment is at the heart of issues we now face in the corrupt system in which we now live. Mis-guided persons and those with malicious intent have caused these principles to be mis-understood to further their own agendas or power and money.

    • 23LoneStar March 30, 2015, 5:31 pm

      This no longer carries the psychological weight it did in the past. With ISIS chopping heads on a daily basis and posting the video on social media, we’ve become desensitized to the whole issue. “Don’t lose your head over it.” has even regained popularity as an admonition to irrational liberals. 🙂

      • Joe McHugh March 31, 2015, 1:49 pm

        23LoneStar, People do become desensitized to the violent ways prisoners are put to death. The ISIS thugs are certainly doing their part to inure people about the shock value of executing infidels with a sword. However, human beings are imaginative creatures who can come up with truly grotesque ways to use methods of execution as teaching moments.
        The Kings of England imposed the draw and quartering method to provide a graphic example of what would happen to any others who might commit treason against the Crown.

        Imagine, if you will, a jury of impartial citizens empaneled for the purpose of determining the most shocking executions. A Hollywood special effects company would have to be engaged to stage the various spectacles. Such scenes would have to include the way the maharajahs in India educated the masses about the unpleasant treatment of an unwise subject that committed a crime against the government. Any crime that irritated the maharajah would suffice for imposition of the punishment.

        The prisoner had his iron ankle cuff chained to a cuff on the back leg of a elephant. Then the elephant was led by his handler through the cobbled streets of the city while the hapless wretch bounced behind on the rocky road ways. The advantage of this “walk” was that thousands of people could witness the black and blue areas on the skin of the barely clad prisoner. They could only see the areas that were not covered with blood from the increasing numbers of cuts and lacerations.

        The trip ended at great public square ware the still conscious prisoner was unchained from the elephant and dragged to a two foot high stone pedestal. His head was forced into position on the pedestal and the elephant was made to step on it with the predictable results.

        Do you really think that the watching crowds were not duly impressed with the maharajah’s demonstration? The prisoners were certainly “impressed”.

  • Stepin Fetchit March 30, 2015, 7:27 am

    Think of the money this would save. Can the convicted pick the caliber? Will the shooters use hollow point “defensive” bullets?

  • Clark March 30, 2015, 6:09 am

    Leave it to Mormons to come up with this. Joseph Smith would have approved (If he could take his time away from his four wives married to other men to do so.).

    • knowledgeisrare April 3, 2015, 1:45 am

      Wow! Joseph Smith and Utah. Lol. Hmm, lookup where and when Joe Smith died. Leave it to small minded people to always tie in religion. Btw Joe Smith died in Carthage Missouri, before the Mormons settled Utah. Google it.

      • barry sandiureyes May 25, 2015, 1:20 pm

        Trying to avoid the fact that Brigham Young was Smith’s successor who followed his BS aprox: 100%?

    • irish2 July 9, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Another low-informed voter, typical democrat.

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