Oklahoma legislature approved a bill to bring back gas chambers as a form of death penalty on Thursday. Huffington Post reports that the vote was 41-0 in favor of the bill, which means that death row inmates may be executed by inhaling nitrogen hypoxia.
The primary form of execution by Oklahoma is the lethal injection, however due to a decrease in the drug Oklahoma needed to find a backup alternative.
Many state correction departments requested local compounding pharmacies to mix up an alternative drug, however the American Pharmacists Association insisted that pharmacies have no part in the executions.
Supporters of the bill say the nitrogen hypoxia is to be more humane, due to the nitrogen gas which drains the oxygen source in the blood. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the earlier 1942 procedures involved gas that would cause suffocation.
According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, there has been 11 executions using gas chambers since 1976 by Arizona, California, Missouri, and Wyoming. As of October 2014, the DPIC reports Oklahoma has 49 death row inmates awaiting execution.
As the inmates await their sentence, the House waits for a signature by Gov. Mary Fallin on the approval of gas chamber executions.