Our Kentucky Public Radio colleague Stu Johnson reported  for NPR on the effort to eliminate the dueling clause from Kentucky’s oath of office.

“One of the problems when you have people from out of state, and I’ve had it at some swearing-in ceremonies that I’ve been to, they look at you like you’re crazy, what are you talking about,” says Louisville state Rep. Darryl Owens. “It perpetuates that image of Kentucky as being backward.”

Owens says snickering over the question of dueling can be a distraction to a dignified ceremony and harm efforts to bring businesses to the state.

He wants a public vote on a constitutional amendment to remove any mention of duels. No otherstate has such an oath.

Historical Significance

Kentucky historian Jim Klotter says the duel references were added in the 1800s because too many residents were killing each other. One of Kentucky’s best-known statesmen, Henry Clay, who served in Congress and ran for president, fought two duels.

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