Wyoming Firing Squad: Lawmaker’s Execution Proposal Won’t Be Considered

    February 11, 2014
    Erika Watts
    Comments are off for this post.

Wyoming lawmaker Bruce Burns sponsored a bill to make death by firing squad an option in his state, but the state senate voted against considering the bill on Tuesday. Burns proposed this alternate method to carry out a capital punishment sentence last month. Now that the firing squad option is off the table in Wyoming, Missouri is the only other state trying to pass this method of execution.

Capital punishment is legal in 32 states, with lethal injection being the most common method of executing a death row inmate. A few other states have backup execution options, should the drugs needed to carry out lethal injection be unavailable, should legal issues arise or should an inmate request at alternate method of death. Death by hanging, electrocution and the gas chamber are options in other states, and two states have death by firing squad as an option–Oklahoma and Utah.

Burns, a state senator from Sheridan, sought to make death by firing squad an option in Wyoming since the state doesn’t currently have a gas chamber, which is their backup option. “The state of Wyoming doesn’t have a gas chamber currently, an operating gas chamber, so the procedure and expense to build one would be impractical to me,” Burns said.

“One of the reasons I chose firing squad as opposed to any other form of execution is because frankly it’s one of the cheapest for the state,” Burns said. “The expense of building a gas chamber I think would be prohibitive when you consider how many people would be executed by it, and even the cost of gallows.”

Not only does Burns consider the costs involved in building a gas chamber to be wasteful, the senator also thinks that a gas chamber is cruel and unusual punishment. “I consider frankly the gas chamber to be cruel and unusual, so I went with firing squad because they also have it in Utah,” Burns said.

After Burns proposed the bill, the Wyoming senate voted against considering it 17 to 13. Burns needed two-thirds of the vote to have the bill considered. Since Wyoming has only executed one inmate since 1992 and has only one inmate on death row right now, it isn’t likely that the issue of the state not having a backup to lethal injection will arise anytime soon.

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  • Anthony

    Burns sounds like he would be more suited to running a concentration camp than a state. Did it ever occur to him to just have no means of killing and move into the 21st century.

    • Albert

      Perhaps we should start purging our society of the "worst of the worst" and move forward with actually executing people we sentence to death. Yes, this is the 21st century and criminals who rape, torture, kidnap, commit robbery, and kill policemen should get what they deserve…

      • alan bringardner

        its not about them, it's about the wrongfully convicted, which, as evidenced by DNA and countless cases of prosecutorial misconduct, is more than frequent enough for some to reach the conclusion that the courts probably shouldn't be deciding who lives and who dies. Plenty of people are against capital punishment because we have come to know the police and courts for what they are – often flawed and very hesitant to ever acknowledge their mistakes.

        • Gid

          what is the percent of the wrongfully accused on death row? of course having 1 is bad but how often do we get death row cases wrong?

          • Louis Shaw

            In the years immediately before the death penalty was abolished, we had several who had been on death row for years and were cleared. The Chicago police department had (and may still have) a bad habit of railroading the innocent.

  • Mannie Salado

    I hear heroin is cheap. Put them out with heroin.

  • Graphic

    This is quite disappointing as this is the only proper fate for Snowden. Otherwise, we will need to rely on kim jong un starving dog solution should he return to the US.

    • Louis Shaw

      SnoAden should get a medal for revealing the illegal activities of the NSA.

  • mbsnyderc .

    I live in Wyoming while it has the death penalty they hardly ever use it .maybe one every twenty years it's only for the Very worst offenders.and Burns does not run the state.he represents one county.

  • Bernard Alfred Stearos

    I have a deal for you. This will save the state a lot of money. Hire me at 100,000.00 and expenses (travel, meals, hotel) and I will execute those sentenced to death humanely and quickly. One bullet to the head. That is a lot nicer than the convicted were to their victims.


    Didn't know such barbaric execution methods still existed in this country. They should just have someone build a guillotine if they want to be cheap…..

  • John Doe

    Burns sounds like he needs to go back to school because a box of 30 bullets and they are 45 hollow bullets the cost $45.00 where else can you kill 10prisoners for $45.00. And if you do the calculation 3 bullets per person is $4.5 but if was me I would bring back the hanging and here it did not cost other then the cost of the rope 200 so how many people can you hang to death on this rope before it breaks and dry rots.

  • BostonFred

    Perfect job for Zimmerman!

  • OldBald06

    If someone murders someone and then is found guilty, why do they then get to live and then die with a needle in their arm??? If they are willing to shoot someone, they should be treated to the same type of life-ending manner.

  • Harry

    Cruel and unusual should be allowed in gruesome murder cases. Let the punishment fit the crime. Liberal thinking is destroying this country(Oh cant we give them a time out,Please,)

  • BlueTigress

    Only if you're on it. It's easy to talk tough, but let's see you actually pull the trigger.