Oklahoma Legalizes Execution By Gas Chamber, First State To Allow Such Method

Oklahoma has become the first state to allow death by gas chamber to inmates on death row. The bill was signed into order by Governor Mary Fallin yesterday and will now be offered to inmates as a option for execution.

NPR reports that Oklahoma has approved the use of nitrogen in executions across the state. The newly approved method of execution will involve placing a mask of pure nitrogen over the death row inmates face. This will slowly cause asphyxiation as oxygen is deprived from the body. The method, though a first in the United States, was determined to be a “painless” and “humane” way to execute inmates by Oklahoma officials and is preferable, as it does not require any specific pharmaceutical compounds or medical expertise to perform. Representative Mike Christian, the House sponsor of the legislation, notes that the nitrogen gas execution method is a “far better alternative” to the electric chair if lethal injection drugs become unavailable or deemed unconstitutional.

“Nitrogen-induced hypoxia is a painless form of execution that doesn’t require any specific pharmaceutical compounds or any medical expertise to administer. It is a far better alternative to the electric chair should lethal injection ever become unavailable, and so I thank the governor for signing this bill into law.”

Oklahoma has been in the media spotlights since a botched lethal injection last year, which resulted in Clayton Lockett spending 43 minutes on a gurney before dying from a heart attack after drugs were not properly administered. The incident resulted in the stay of all executions until a review was performed. Now, Oklahoma officials are concerned that lethal injection drugs may become unavailable or that the procedure may be deemed unconstitutional. Therefore, Mary Fallin says another method of approved execution should be made available. This is where nitrogen gas asphyxiation came into play.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Republican Senator Anthony Sykes, the chairman of the Senate committee, says that nitrogen hypoxia has been deemed the “most humane” method of execution, even by groups opposed to execution. Sykes also notes that the death row inmate may even have a euphoric experience prior to expiring.

“It is a method that has been recognized as the most humane by those who oppose the death penalty. The people who have experienced it to the point of unconsciousness said it was a euphoric feeling. I’d say it’s more humane.”

What do you think about the option of nitrogen gas asphyxiation and gas chambers being made available to inmates as an option for execution? Is nitrogen gas asphyxiation the “most humane” way to execute an inmate?

[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Win McNamee]