Last modified on January 11, 2010, at 12:28

Firing squad

The firing squad is a type of death penalty that is used particularly in wartime. It also remains an option for the death row inmates convicted prior to March 15, 2004 in Utah.[1]

The firing squad, as its name suggests, consists of a row of soldiers or officers who shoot simultaneously at a victim tied to a post. In some implementations all but one of the rifles has actual ammunition, so that none of the shooters is sure that he actually killed the victim. In some situations if the shooters fail to kill the victim; the victim may be pardoned from any further execution attempts.

It is customary in most cases to blindfold the person being shot, out of a common sense of decency, but he can decide not to be blindfolded.


  1. Utah passed a law passed on March 15, 2004 that banned the use of the firing squad for future convicted defendants, and mandating lethal injection for future executions. However, it was not made retroactive to persons on death row. In other words, criminals who were placed on death row prior to this date still face death by firing squad.