The death penalty and execution, as a whole, has been a highly controversial issue throughout history. Those who support the death penalty believe that it is an appropriate form of punishment and that the murderer deserves to die for taking another’s life. Those who are against the death penalty believe that it is not morally right to take another human’s life for any reason and that execution is cruel and unusual punishment. Ten years after banning the use of firing squads in state executions, Utah lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to allow the practice again to avoid problems with lethal-injection drugs.
The proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield would call for a firing squad if the state cannot obtain the lethal injection drugs 30 days before the scheduled execution.
Utah dropped firing squads out of concern about the media attention, but Ray said it’s the most humane way to execute someone because the inmate dies instantly.
“We have to have an option,” Ray told reporters Wednesday. “If we go hanging, if we go to the guillotine, or we go to the firing squad, electric chair, you’re still going to have the same circus atmosphere behind it. So is it really going to matter?”
After a 20-minute discussion, an interim panel of Utah lawmakers approved the idea on a 9-2 vote Wednesday. The proposal still needs to go through the full legislative process once lawmakers convene for their annual session in January.
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