President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump speak to first responders as they visit the El Paso Regional Communications Center after meeting with people affected by the El Paso mass shooting, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in El Paso, Texas.

Albert Einstein has been credited with the saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result." Such a statement rings true concerning the inaction of the federal government in protecting its citizens in the face of carnage of our fellow citizens due to the use of automatic weapons of war. Every time one of these horrific events occurs the hue and cry from the public is for the federal government to take action, and each time, nothing happens. Hence the definition of insanity.

Letters: When is right time to consider gun laws?

I am amazed at the power of the NRA and its funding and lobbying efforts, which essentially paralyze Republican legislators from enacting common sense gun reforms. As a citizen of Louisiana, I am an advocate for protection of the Second Amendment for weapons for hunting and reasonable personal protection, but I don't believe the Second Amendment provides an unlimited right to own any type of military weapon. Automatic weapons as well as high-capacity magazines should be restricted. it is just common sense.

Our Views: Baton Rouge Walmart scare highlights our anxieties

As I watched President Donald Trump and a few Republican legislators comment on this issue, I had a case of déjà vu. I heard the same NRA talking points of "we can't rush into anything" or "blame the shooter." The play will be the same: Extend sympathies and prayers, lower flag to half-staff, keep head down, do nothing and hope a new shiny object comes along that distracts the citizenry from this issue. 

There are bills already passed by the House of Representatives relating to these core issues which are dead on arrival in the Senate because U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow them to be debated in the Senate. How sad it is that the greatest deliberative body in the world, the envy of other nations, is unable to even debate these issues because of the paralyzing effect of the NRA and the potential of receiving a C or D Grade from the NRA if members do.

While sensible restrictions concerning the purchase of weapons will help, President Trump must temper his vitriolic demonization of brown people, Middle Eastern people and black people. This constant drumbeat of hatred that spews from his mouth and his Twitter account to a national audience is unacceptable and provides encouragement to these white nationalists. Certainly we now know that the events at the Garlic Festival in California and the shootings in El Paso were efforts by deranged white nationalists with access to automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines who took the comments of President Trump literally and tried to eradicate as many brown people as they could.

We are better than this. Hopefully Republicans will free themselves from the NRA and join with Democrats to pass these needed reforms and President Trump will temper his comments but I have little hope for either to occur.

That is why the definition of "insanity" as described by Einstein is so fitting today.

Patrick Hufft


New Orleans