Oklahoma greenlights nitrogen executions

Should lethal injection be ruled unconstitutional, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has taken a step to ensure that the state can still carry out executions. Gov. Fallin signed a bill allowing nitrogen gas to be used, according to CNN.

Fallin’s office issued a statement stating that nitrogen injection causes death rapidly due to a lack of oxygen.

“The person will become unconscious within eight to 10 seconds and death a few minutes later. In other words, a humane, quick and painless death,” stated Rep. Mike Christian, one of the authors of the bill, according to CNN which cited KFOR, a news station In Oklahoma.

Not everyone agrees that the matter is that simple. the director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Robert Dunham,, told the Washington Post,

“The myth [of a] quick, painless and effective execution — was used to sell lethal injection,” adding, “The hasty manner in which this bill sped into law reflects the same lack of care with which Oklahoma has managed its execution process historically.”

Oklahoma executions have been under scrutiny, including from the Supreme Court, since a botched a lethal injection last year. The execution took 43 minutes to cause Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer, to die. In fact, all executions in the state of Oklahoma have been placed on hold pending a ruling by the Supreme Court.

This has not changed Fallin’s support of the death penalty in the state she governs,

“Oklahoma executes murderers whose crimes are especially heinous,” Fallin said. “I support that policy, and I believe capital punishment must be performed effectively and without cruelty. The bill I signed today gives the state of Oklahoma another death penalty option that meets that standard.”

The office of the governor stated that their plan for executions from now on will be lethal injection, and if that is banned, nitrogen injection. Should both of those be ruled unconstitutional, according to the governor’s office, the next option is the electric chair, followed by the firing squad.