KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One Missouri lawmaker wants to provide an alternative death penalty to lethal injection, allowing a method of execution which hasn't been used in the United States since 1996. A Harrisonville lawmaker is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow execution by firing squad.
Currently, execution by firing squad is an option in Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho. If a new proposal becomes law, Missouri will be added to the list.
You might say Harrisonville Representative Rick Brattin (R) is on a capital punishment crusade.
"It's not an easy decision and it's not fun. We have an obligation to bring justice and put to rest these cases," Rep. Brattin said.
Rep. Brattin along with a Saint Louis area lawmaker is sponsoring a house bill designed to bring firing squad executions back to Missouri.
"I truly believe that the firing squad, is of all, the most humane and it is the quickest. It would be the easiest to utilize in the last-minute approach," he said.
Currently, the Show Me State puts inmates to death through lethal injection. The law also allows for lethal gas, which researchers say was used to execute 39 inmates from 1938 to 1956. Rep. Brattin's house bill would add the option of a firing squad execution consisting of five law enforcement officers chosen by the state corrections director.
"It would be cheaper, but that's not the purpose," he said. "We need something that we could do if we do indeed run into a problem with lethal injection. It would allow us to continue to bring closure to the families and these victims."
But Clancy Martin, a philosophy and ethics professor at UMKC, says putting inmates to death by shooting them will be a step backwards for Missouri.
"I'd go so far as to use the word 'evil,' which is not a word that I use lightly. It's simply the case that we should hold ourselves as a society to a higher moral standard," Martin said.
Rep. Brattin says he knows his controversial bill will spark a "heated debate" among his fellow lawmakers. Members of the House could get their first look at it in March. Missouri's next execution is scheduled for January 29.