Wyoming Considering Firing Squads For Executions

May 27, 2014

Wyoming lawmakers are considering changing state law to allow firing squads in the execution of condemned convicts.

Lethal injection table
Credit Ken Piorkowski via Flickr Creative Commons

A similar bill failed introduction in the state Senate, but after Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Bob Lampert testified before the legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee, the committee asked staff to draft a bill allowing firing squads—which they’ll consider at their next meeting in July.

“There is no backup form of execution if for any reason the lethal injection can’t proceed, and the substances used in the lethal injection process are increasingly difficult if not impossible to obtain,” Lampert said.

The ingredients used in lethal injections are produced by European drug manufacturers, and current European Union guidelines prohibit the export of goods used to administer the death penalty. This has caused a nationwide shortage of the drugs in the U.S., and a problem for states like Wyoming.

Lampert says this issue is a policy decision for the legislature, but if the state decides to proceed with capital punishment, firing squads may be the best option.  

“That probably would be the least problematic,” Lampert said. “Electric chair, hanging or gas chamber are the other means that have traditionally been used and each of those has their issues and would come with an construction expense as well.”

Wyoming has just one inmate on death row, and has executed only one person in the past 38 years.