The execution chamber at the Utah State Prison is seen after Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a firing squad in Draper

Conservatives push for nearly unthinkable death penalty ban

The execution chamber at the Utah State Prison is seen after Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a firing squad in DraperBy Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A former gun industry lobbyist and budget-hawk Republicans are leading what might seem to be an unlikely hard-right campaign – trying to sway conservatives in places like Utah and Kansas that they should be the first Republican-held state in four decades to ban the death penalty. The push from the political advocacy group Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty and lawmakers in places such as Nebraska would have been unthinkable a few years ago when it would have been conservative heresy to end capital punishment, a program seen as bedrock issue of the law-and-order policies embraced by the party. This is an issue that pragmatic conservatives are getting on board with,” said Marc Hyden, a coordinator of Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, a network of political and social conservatives who say capital punishment does not align with their values.

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