We’re half way into 2022 and America has suffered 248 mass shootings of four or more people. Members of Congress express their condolences to the victims’ families and talk about federal gun safety legislation and common-sense measures to keep weapons out of the hands of these shooters. But their fervor seems to die almost as fast as those kids and their teachers did on the floor of Uvalde’s school. They say they are protecting the Constitution by providing every kook or unstable person in America with easy access to weapons designed for mass killing. These are the same members of Congress who said the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol were unruly tourists. It seems they pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they want to protect.

Some of our congressmen feel we should arm teachers. They believe a teacher with a handgun with six or eight rounds in it could best a shooter in a bullet proof vest with an automatic weapon and 30 round clips. If I were asked to go up against a shooter in close quarters, I would want the best vest money can buy and a short-barreled 12 gauge shotgun loaded with five rounds of double 00 buckshot, not a handgun.

We could give all congressmen and women handguns for their protection while at the Capitol. That would allow the 500 Capitol police officers who protect them to be reassigned to school protection duty. After all, we elect the best and brightest America has to offer—they should be able to protect themselves. They wouldn’t have 20 or 30 students to protect while confronting a shooter.

Some of the common-sense measures I would vote for are:

•anyone under 21 cannot purchase weapons or ammunition with a credit card. The Uvalde shooter had to have spent almost $2,000 on guns, ammunition, clips and a bullet proof vest and then charged it. If this high school drop-out had to save two grand in cash, he may have used it for a down payment on a pick-up truck, dirt bike or an ATV and began his adult life, instead of ending his and others. Credit card companies track every charge we make. They could disallow weapons purchased with a card.

•we are selling bullet proof vests to citizens. They should be supplied to law enforcement only. I’ve hunted bulls, bears, boars, bucks and birds for 75 years and have yet to see a bulletproof vest worn by a hunter, trap, skeet or target shooter. A vest only emboldens a shooter.

• background checks for gun buyers under 21 should require a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records and a 30-day waiting period.

•if a shooter is convicted of mass murder, I believe his organs should be harvested and donated to others so they may live.

Those shooters have taken away everything their victims would have and experienced during their lives. Friendships with their teachers, classmates, siblings, parents, grandparents and co-workers. They will never feel the satisfactions of getting their first job, their first pay-check, their first promotion. They will never experience a first date or that first kiss. They will never enjoy a relationship with a spouse who would be their best friend for the next 50 years.

Eighty-five percent of Americans want some common-sense gun safety legislation to keep weapons used to commit mass murders out of the hands of the unstable. When so many members of Congress are owned by special interest groups, it’s a monumental task for the rest. Our democracy is on a slippery slope, if we don’t elect a president and some Congress members who have courage, conviction and common sense soon or the next generation of Americans will need their weapons to take back their government.

—Tom Janicki,