Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed legislation on Friday to allow execution by firing squad on Friday, making it the fifth state in the country to allow this method.
Little said in a letter to state House Speaker Mike Moyle (R) that he chose to sign the bill because of his support for Idaho being able to successfully carry out the death penalty when necessary for crimes that are “heinous.”
“For the people on death row, a jury convicted them of their crimes, and they were lawfully sentenced to death,” Little said. “It is the responsibility of the State of Idaho to follow the law and ensure that lawful criminal sentences are carried out.”
He said his support for the death penalty is also why he signed a bill last year to help the state obtain the chemicals needed for lethal injection.
The state has struggled to acquire the drugs necessary to carry out lethal injections as some drug companies have prevented their products from being used in executions. One scheduled execution in Idaho was delayed because of scarcity.
Little said he has not given up on Idaho acquiring the chemicals it needs, and he believes the legislation he signed last year expands options.
Four other states — Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina — have legalized firing squads, spurred on by the drug shortage. South Carolina’s law allowing them has been paused amid a court battle over its constitutionality.
The bill Little signed Friday directs the director of the Idaho Department of Corrections to determine within five days of a death warrant being issued whether lethal injection is available. If the director does not certify that it is available, fails to file a certification or determines that it is not available, a firing squad will be used.
The law will go into effect on July 1.