Nothing against any of the Founding Fathers. They were writing the constitution and the Bill of Rights in a hurry and under duress, and they were trying to stitch together a lasting document that satisfied competing interests. When James Madison penned the Bill of Rights, it was an attempt to mollify Libertarians and State’s Righters in the South and to alleviate their fears that the new government might infringe on personal freedoms.

Take the 2nd Amendment which is presented in full in the picture above. Any thoughtful reading of it reveals two competing ideas at play. Madison guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms,” but he couches that personal freedom within the overall need for “a well-regulated Militia.”

In other words, Madison had it in mind that gun owners should be well trained and organized into a disciplined unit, much as modern day police forces are trained and organized.

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court reached a broader interpretation, finding that the Second Amendment gave individuals a right to have guns—unconnected to any militia service—and to use them for traditionally legal purposes like self-defense. The problem is that the Supreme Court is trying to reinterpret the 2nd Amendment without changing the original wording of the amendment itself.

Felons who use guns in their felonious endeavors, if caught, often lose the right to own and carry guns. Well and good, but that is not what the amendment says.

Furthermore, Madison failed to specifically rule out some of the situations in which we often find ourselves today, namely that every knucklehead and mentally unstable individual in the gene pool claims the inalienable ability to buy, carry, and use lethal weaponry. Ironically, as I am typing this, I am hearing a radio news segment about yet another senseless murder event.

In the early days of this country, many towns in the wild, wild west had laws requiring cowboys to check their guns before visiting the local saloon to get drunk. Those regulations were sensible and probably saved some lives. Today, in America 38 states are stand-your-ground states, 30 by statutes providing “that there is no duty to retreat from an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present.” Fair enough, especially if you or I or someone we know and respect are the individuals being attacked, but shouldn’t those laws also require that we be sober and in full control of our decision-making faculties as a prerequisite for protection under those kinds of laws? Shouldn’t another prerequisite be that we have received some minimal training in the safe handling of any weapon we might choose to carry and possibly employ?

Proposed: The 2nd Amendment should read as follows:

Any United States citizen who has consistently and without fail proven themselves to be without felonious intent or inclination and further having completing minimal safety training in a specific weapon has the right to own that weapon for protection within his or her own home or domicile, and after completing additional rigorous training conducted by the local police establishment is eligible to be certified to carry that weapon for the purposes of self-defense, providing said individual does not willfully put him or herself in harm’s way. Should an individual’s circumstances change, the local police authorities shall reserve the right to revoke these rights with the written approval of a magistrate.