Albert Einstein described insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results". The same can be said for America's debate on gun control.
In the wake of the horrific Florida school shooting that killed 17 on Wednesday (14 February), lawmakers and citizens alike are once again calling for a revision of laws under the second amendment which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The issue is brought to centre stage each time the nation faces a mass shooting but gets moved to the background with the passage of time.
President Donald Trump, on his part, has attempted to focus attention on the mental state of the suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, rather than the fact that he was able to get his hands on an AR-15. "So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem," the Potus wrote on Twitter.
The president's stance comes as no surprise to many, who recall that only a month into his presidency, Trump signed a controversial bill to weaken gun law. The HJ Resolution 40 made it easier for people with mental illness to obtain guns by overthrowing restrictions put in place by the Obama administration.
At the time, Chris Cox, National Rifle Association (NRA) director, praised the move. "We have now have a president who respects and supports our right to keep and bear arms," he had said, according to The Hill.
CBS News reported that it had attempted to get a photo of the bill signing, with requests for the same made 12 times. The White House refused to respond to the emails and phone calls until finally in April 2017, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote to the news channel stating: "We don't plan to release the picture at this time."
Critics are now blaming Trump's bill for the 14 February massacre of students and teachers. "Thanks to you, the #ParklandShooter was able to obtain an AR-15," one person wrote on Twitter.
"The clearest warning sign I found that the #Floridashooting was about to happen was when @realDonaldTrump, signed his first bill #HJResolution40 making it easier for the mentally ill to obtain guns," another individual commented.
During his tenure as president, Barack Obama attempted to implement further restrictions on the sale and purchase of guns — most famously tearing up during a White House press conference in 2012 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which cost the lives of 28.
His plan to reduce gun violence included a focus on mental health treatment, limiting magazine sizes, strengthening background checks and restarting federal gun research which had been put on hold for years.
According to the NRA, the original regulation would have prevented an estimated "75,000 Social Security recipients who use a representative payee losing their Second Amendment rights without due process".
In January 2016, Obama once again attempted to tighten laws regarding gun sales but was vehemently opposed by the Republican-heavy Congress. Once Trump came to power, it was only a matter of weeks before it was easier to obtain guns than medical care.
"Obama's executive actions on guns are likely to be reversed quickly," UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler told PolitFact in 2017. "The NRA has close ties to Trump and the organisation is eager to reverse Obama's reforms."