Not so long ago, duels fought with guns were a common thing. In fact, several politicians and lawmakers including Andrew Jackson and Alexander Hamilton are know to have participated in more than one such exchange. But as time passed, duels were outlawed in favor of a more “civilized” society.
Well, Lawmakers in Oregon are starting to have second thoughts on the subject and are considering holding a vote which could result in the removal of the constitutional ban on gun-blazing duels, at least those between between public officials. In some states, Oregon is one of them, there is a state constitutional ban in Article II, section 9 banning participation in such acts. It says: ”anyone who offers, accepts or knowingly participates in a “challenge to fight a duel … or who shall agree to go out of the State to fight a duel, shall be ineligible to any office of trust, or profit.”
The original article was signed back in 1845, when disputes were still frequently resolved with gun duels. Interestingly, dueling had been outlawed in much of the country years before. During a committee hearing on repealing the law, Republican Sen. Brian Boquist told members: “They decided that it would not be very civil if two members of the Legislature disagreed and then shot each other on the front steps of the provisional capitol.” But the Senator, also argued the article should be repealed because it’s outdated and unnecessary in modern times.
But repealing it is not so easy, since it involves a change to the state constitution, voters would have the final say on repealing it or not. But before they have their say, the bill must also go through the Legislature’s approval process. If it survives in both chambers, it will be referred to voters for a final approval.
Sen. Boquist also told members that the state constitution could undergo even more changes to remove non-relevant text. Like many other states, there are hundreds of laws and prohibitions that are no longer relevant to life today. From items like having to have someone walking in front of your car with a red flag to warn pedestrians and equestrians of an oncoming motor car, to not allowing the hitching of horses outside taverns for more than 3 hours.
“I want you to know that most of your stationery is probably in violation of the law because we have a constitutional clause as to how we can use our stationery,” he said. But Oregon Progressive Party member and attorney Dan Meek opposed the motion saying it would allow politicians to accept challenges to fight duels and there’s no need to repeal such “unenforced” laws as it will only cost money to organize a referendum in Oregon.
“This resolution would allow the candidacies of persons who give or accept challenges to fight duels,” Meek wrote to the committee. “Also, there is a cost to removing obviously unenforced and unenforceable provisions in the Oregon Constitution, including the cost of processing and printing this resolution on millions of ballots and processing the results.”
Maybe we should take note of this prohibition, after all, just how firm a position against Mr. Trumps agenda items do you think Democrats or RINO’s take if they thought they might have to defend their words with a pistol at 20 paces?