The apparent spike in mass killing and gun violence calls for drastic action. As a liberal conservative non-hunting member of the NRA, I have a suggestion. It requires amending the U.S. Constitution minimally but significantly. I propose these two steps:

1. Modify the Second Amendment to emphasize “militia” and define that term to mean any group with a common legal purpose (sportsmen club, community protection, hobbyists, etc.) so that each gun owner has fellow members to attest to his or her mental stability and meaningful purpose. This would complement the red flag laws currently being considered.

2. Define gun ownership not under the protection afforded by the rewritten Second Amendment as a crime and carve out a very limited portion of the a4th Amendment to shift the burden of proof to the accused. Proof of membership in a militia would satisfy that burden.

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Extremists on both ends of the spectrum will categorically reject this proposal but it should open up the debate. Does the Montana Legislature or our congressional delegation have the moxie to take it forward?

Bill Hagen


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