Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a bill allowing execution by firing squad, making Idaho the latest state to turn to older methods of capital punishment amid a nationwide shortage of lethal-injection drugs.
The Legislature passed the measure 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.
Pharmaceutical companies increasingly have barred executioners from using their drugs, saying they were meant to save lives. One Idaho death row inmate has already had his execution postponed repeatedly because of drug scarcity.
The shortage has prompted other states in recent years to revive older methods of execution. Only Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina have laws allowing firing squads if other execution methods are unavailable, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. South Carolina’s law is on hold pending the outcome of a legal challenge.