Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he supports using the death penalty as punishment for leaders of drug cartels who bring drugs into America.
Gingrich made the comments when asked in an interview with Yahoo! News if he still stands by a bill he introduced in Congress in 1996 allowing those convicted of smuggling drugs to be put to death.
“I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure,” Gingrich told reporter Chris Moody. “Look at the level of violence and the level of violence that they’ve done to society.”
Elaborating, he said: “You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there’s nothing wrong with heroine and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, ‘These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.’”
“If you’re serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we’re going to have drugs in this country.”
Also in the interview, Gingrich said his campaign has begun exploring the option of getting protection from the Secret Service. The only Republican candidate for president so far with protection is businessman Herman Cain.
“We’ve explored it with them, and I think at the moment I would prefer not to do it as long as we could,” Gingrich said. “I prefer as much as possible to remain open to people.”