An Alabama state senator wants to allow the state to carry out executions with firing squad.
Montrose- Republican Sen. Trip Pittman said the firing squad should be an “option” for the Yellowhammer State during continued litigation over lethal injection.
Pittman explained that he was prompted to introduce the bill in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court‘s Thursday night decision to stay the execution of Alabama-death row inmate Tommy Arthur while deciding whether or not to hear Arthur’s appeal that challenges the state’s lethal injection procedure. Arthur was convicted of killing a man in a 1982 murder-for-hire.
Thursday night was Arthur’s seventh scheduled execution date in 15 years. Ahead of it, he challenged the lethal injection procedure saying that it was cruel and unusual punishment. He suggested a firing squad as an alternative.
By law, Alabama allows inmates to choose between lethal injection and the electric chair. However, the chair has not been chosen since lethal injection became an approved option.
Pittman’s bill, SB 12, follows Arthur’s own suggestion and would allow inmates to allow choose death by a five-person firing squad comprised of law enforcement officers.
The senator pre-filed the bill ahead of the legislative session, which is scheduled to begin February 7, 2017.
Should the Alabama Legislature approve Pittman’s bill, the state would join Utah in allowing firing squads for executions.