It would only take five words to make the Second Amendment match up with the sentiments of the long-ago statesmen who devised the constitution, says former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

Stevens, in his book “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” suggests that the words “when serving in the militia” be added, so that the amendment would read: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

In an excerpt published in The Washington Post, Stevens noted that since the December 2012 shootings of school children in Newtown, Conn., high-powered weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in several “senseless” public incidents.

“Those killings, however, are only a fragment of the total harm caused by the misuse of firearms,” said Stevens. “Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns.”

Federal and state legislators should make adopting rules to reduce the number of those incidents a matter of primary concern, said Stevens.