Poll: Americans back death penalty by gas or electrocution if needle is unavailable

One in three people say that if lethal injections are no longer viable — because of drug shortages or other problems — executions should be stopped altogether, according to the survey of 800 adults by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies for NBC News.

But many others are open to more primitive methods of putting prisoners to death: 20% for the gas chamber, 18% for the electric chair, 12% for firing squad and 8% for hanging.

“The lethal injection is someone’s very gross interpretation of killing someone humanely,” said Kuni Beasley of Frisco, Texas, who called for a return to hanging.

“It’s very quick. You don’t have to worry about drugs and it’s very efficient. Better than a firing squad — a firing squad is messy,” said Beasley, 58, a retired Army officer and college-prep entrepreneur.