Weird Laws

Thinking about running for public office in West Virginia and pursuing your political dreams? If so, make sure you are never involved in a duel, as fighting in one means you can never -- for the rest of your life -- hold an office of honor, trust or profit.

This goes beyond mere sword fights, which were the traditional way that duels were fought for decades. The law states that any duel with "deadly weapons" will be subjected to this regulation, presumably to get rid of fighting with pistols and revolvers, as well.

Minor Involvement

The way the law is written is strict and harsh, and it's important to note that just about any involvement with a duel can prevent you from holding public office. You'll be barred if you accept or send a challenge to a duel, if you knowingly assist in a duel, or if you act as a second for someone else's duel. Essentially, the state wants to keep anyone who has ever been linked to dueling out of office for good.

Tough Dueling Laws

What is really surprising here isn't that dueling is illegal, but just how far the law goes to prevent it. Did you know that it is illegal to taunt a person who is offered a duel and declines to participate in it? If you taunt him or her, you could be given a misdemeanor charge. This could land you behind bars for six months and get you a fine of $100. That's not even for being in a duel, but for trying to merely goad someone else into it and making fun of him or her for not fighting.

Strict Rulings

These laws suggest that dueling was at one time a much bigger deal in West Virginia, and the authorities knew they needed to take drastic steps to prevent it. The sentences that go along with these rather outdated laws -- when is the last time a real duel was proposed? -- are very strict, though, and those who feel they are facing punishments that don't fit the crime must know what legal options they have.