Lawmaker looks to add firing squad to execution bill

One Tennessee Representative also suggested ‘hanging’ as another possible method.
State lawmakers are looking to add firing squad as a new execution method.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 8:21 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Tennessee lawmaker is working to add death by firing squad as a method of execution in the state.

HB1245 was originally introduced by Rep. Dennis Powers as a death-by-electrocution bill. Now, the bill is being amended to offer inmates on death row a different execution method.

During a committee meeting this week, several of the state’s representatives said they were in support of the idea and believed it to be the most humane way to be executed.

Rep. Paul Sherrell agreed with the bill and took the conversation a step further by suggesting lynching as another possible execution method.

“I think it’s a very good idea. And I was just wondering, could I put an amendment on that, that would include hanging by a tree also,” Rep. Sherrell said during the meeting on Tuesday.

Rep. Sherrell released the following statement:

Rep. Powers said that it would be up to the Tennessee Department of Correction to develop perimeters around the bill and facilitate it. He also said TDOC is reportedly not opposed to the bill.

Rep. Powers said he conducted a survey of people on death row, which showed that a firing squad is the preferred method of execution. If passed, the bill would not make the unique method of execution mandatory.

Some Democratic lawmakers disagreed with the bill and said during the committee meeting that a firing squad is a cruel and unusual form of punishment.

“If most of this information is accurate, or some of this information is accurate, then we’re probably going to end up in court on constitutional issues,” Rep. G.A. Hardaway said.

The bill was discussed by the Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday and was moved forward to the Finance Committee.

For the full bill, visit Tennessee General Assembly’s website.