Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a bill allowing executions by firing squad.
Idaho is now the fifth state in the nation to allow this older method of capital punishment, following Utah, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
Gov. Little signed the bill after it passed through the Idaho legislature on March 20 with a veto-proof majority. Under it, firing squads will be used only if the state cannot obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections.
There has long been a shortage of the chemicals needed for lethal injection. One Idaho death row inmate has already had his execution postponed due to the inability to acquire the drugs.
FOX News noted that the newly legalized execution method could impact the state’s eight current death row inmates and possibly the future of student stabbings suspect Bryan Kohberger.
In a letter to state House Speaker Mike Moyle, also a Republican, the governor wrote the following:
Throughout my life in public service, I have supported capital punishment when our justice system determines death is the only appropriate sentence for a person who committed a heinous crime. The families of the victims deserve justice for their loved ones and the death penalty is a way to bring them peace.
I am signing House Bill 186 because I support policies that enable the State of Idaho to successfully carry out the death penalty. It is the same reason I signed House Bill 658 in 2022, legislation to help the state acquire the chemicals necessary to perform lethal injection. I have not given up on the state’s ability to acquire the chemicals, and I believe the bill I signed into law last year helped expand options that would not have been available without it.
While I am signing this bill, it is important to point out that fulfilling justice can and must be done while minimizing stress on corrections personnel.
For the people on death row, a jury convicted them of their crimes, and they were lawfully sentenced to death. It is the responsibility of the State of Idaho to follow the law and ensure that lawful criminal sentences are carried out.