Saturday, April 1, 2017
Mississippi Selects Another Type Of Capital Punishment
Lawmakers in Mississippi sent Gov. Phil Bryant a bill Tuesday that would enact death by firing squad as a means of capital punishment.
House Bill 638 is meant to give the state options for the death penalty, in the event lethal injection and other means of execution are ruled unconstitutional. Bryant has said he would support a measure that includes the firing squad option.
Fusillading would be the final option for the state under the measure, which would only allow the method if lethal injection, nitrogen gas, and electrocution are ruled unconstitutional, in that order. Attorney General Jim Hood asked lawmakers to pass such a measure last year. A similar bill circulated through the Mississippi legislature in 2016, but the firing squad language was removed before the bill passed.
“It’s been one of the more common practices through history,” said bill sponsor Robert Foster, talking about firing squads last year. “It’s very instant and about as humane as you can get while performing an execution in my personal opinion.”
Last month, the Mississippi House passed a new version of the bill, but a Senate committee amended it, removing the firing squad portion. The House wouldn’t concur on the Senate’s version, so a conference committee hammered out details, put the firing squad option back in, and both chambers passed the measure this week.
The ACLU of Mississippi is against the bill. “Reinstating barbaric methods like firing squads, hangings, and electrocution anchors Mississippi to the worst part of our history,” the group said in a statement last month.