Politics & Government

Should politicians swear not to shoot one another?

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- State Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, prefiled a bill Tuesday that would delete language dealing with dueling in the state oath of office.

Owens said the dueling language in the state oath takes away the dignity of public swearing-in ceremonies for new state officeholders.

The oath in the state Constitution says, "I, being a citizen of this state, 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."

When this part of the oath is read publicly, Owens said, the audience usually breaks into laughter, marring the solemn occasion.

"Every member of the General Assembly, all officeholders and every member of the bar must take this oath," said Owens. "And every time we get to that part of the ceremony, laughter erupts. I think that it is time we jump into the 21st century and delete this archaic language so the oath of office can be administered in a serious and respectful manner."

Owens issued a statement that said the Kentucky Encyclopedia notes that 41 duels were fought by Kentuckians, beginning in 1790 and ending in 1867.

Read more at Kentucky.com

Related stories from McClatchy DC