When legislators return to Frankfort in January, they will face many issues, including the budget crisis, gaming and duels.
Yes, duels have been part of the Constitutional oath since 1849.
State Rep. Darryl Owens of Louisville has pre-filed a bill to eliminate the part of the oath of elected officials stating that they had dueled or been a second in a duel.
In a press release from the Legislative Research Committee, Owens said that there is normally laughter in the audience when elected officials are required to recite that they “have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person, thus offending, so help me God.”
The representative is correct. This normally brings a bit of laughter from the crowd and often the person reciting the oath.
He is also correct in stating that his is a serious and solemn occasion.
However, it also brings a bit of levity to the ceremonies. Many times our elected officials are a bit too serious and have trouble laughing at things they do.
The pre-filed bill could easily pass the legislature. No matter the fate, this is not something that will make or break the Commonwealth.
But if that portion is struck from the oath, we must admit that the most memorable portion of the swearing-in ceremony will be eliminated.
Not that we favor duels with weapons but there is normally no harm in a little verbal sparring.