Death Penalty States Returning to ‘Humane’ Firing Squad


Professor Deborah Denno shared her expert opinion with The Washington Times on methods used for the death penalty.

The firing squad is making a comeback.

The nation’s oldest and most arcane method of execution is rising in popularity, with several states and even inmates calling for its return, saying it’s a more humane form of execution than lethal injection.

It also is seen as a solution to the shortage of lethal injection drugs that have left states with a death row backlog.

“We’ve had lethal injection since 1977, and you have a state like South Carolina conceding that there are so many problems with it they have to go back in time,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University, who has argued that firing squad is the most humane method of execution.

As Ms. Denno sees it, a firing squad is more compassionate because it requires marksmen who are skilled in taking shots resulting in immediate death. That is more effective than relying on prison volunteers to administer an injection that doesn’t always take hold, she said.

“With lethal injection, it varies widely on who is implementing the drugs,” she said. “We don’t know if the person is going to be skilled in lethal injection in the way police or military are trained to shoot to kill.”

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