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Oregon moves to dissolve constitutional ban on public officials settling grudges with duels

Oregon voters might soon have to decide if they want to end a constitutional ban on their public officials settling disagreements with duels, The Associated Press reports.

The article banning duels was signed just 30 minutes after it was drafted in 1845, and it states that anyone who 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." Republican Sen. Brian Boquist put it simply: "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But Boquist argued that the rule is outdated and that along with other archaic rules, such as how to properly use one's official stationery, it should be swept out of the state's constitution. Only, to change a state's constitution requires the approval of the state's voters, setting up a potentially hilarious ballot.

After all, there is an opposing argument. Oregon Progressive Party spokesman Dan Meek reasonably pointed out that "this resolution would allow the candidacies of persons who give or accept challenges to fight duels."