Idaho on Verge of Becoming Fifth State to Use Firing Squads for Executions

This June 18, 2010, file photo shows the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State
Trent Nelson/Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File

Firing squads are making a comeback, and Idaho is on the verge of becoming the fifth state to use the execution method.

The Whig-Standard noted that this week, Idaho’s legislature passed legislation allowing death by firing squad, stressing that this was passed by veto-proof margins.

This move sets up the firing squad as an execution option for instances in which the drugs for lethal injection cannot be obtained.

Execution by firing squad is currently legal in Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

The Associated Press (AP) reacted to Idaho’s pro-firing squad legislation by noting, “The idea of using firing squads is making a comeback.”

The AP observed that the use of firing squads has become, to many, one of the “alternatives to lethal injections after pharmaceuticals barred the use of their drugs.”

The most recent state-sanctioned death by firing squad was June 18, 201o, in Utah. That was the day Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed.

Utah firing squads consist of five prison staffers, all of whom use a rifle to shoot at a target placed upon the heart of the condemned individual. Four of the rifles are loaded with real ammunition while one is loaded with a blank. The five participants have no idea who shoots real rounds and who shoots the blank.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.