If lawmakers won’t pass such measures banning military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, voters need to elect people who will.

You’ve heard this all before.

A gunman has once again used a weapon designed to cause mass casualties to do just that. While gutless politicians offer thoughts and prayers as they continue raking in massive donations from the gun lobby, others express outage at the lack of action.

This time must be different, we say. The tragic loss of life demands that we ban these weapons of war and take other measures to curb gun violence, we insist.

And then nothing happens — legislatively, at least. The thing that does happen and will continue happening until we do something meaningful is the shooting deaths of innocent people in the United States on a scale not seen in any other industrialized country.

When 12 students and one teacher were killed at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime horror. But mass shootings at schools kept happening on a regular basis, including the murder of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

In just the time since the Sandy Hook killings, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. At least 438 people have been shot, 138 of whom were killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks such shootings.

The latest massacre hits home for Floridians: the killing of at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. In the hours after the tragedy Wednesday, some familiar voices said some familiar things. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, called the shooting “inexplicable” and said he didn’t want to discuss gun control at that time.

Rubio is among the 10 senators who have received the most donations in their careers from the National Rifle Association, taking more than $3.3 million of its blood money, according to a New York Times database. The only inexplicable thing is how his constituents let him get away with pretending there is nothing he and his colleagues can do about gun violence.

A basic first step would be banning military-style rifles such as the AR-15 and its variants, which were used in the Broward County killings and others such as the shootings at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 and a Texas church in 2017. Bump stocks, which make semi-automatic rifles act like automatic weapons and were used in last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, should have been banned long ago.

High-capacity magazines should also be prohibited. The background check system must cover all sales and be improved. Measures that prevent guns from being used by someone other than their owners, including new technology such as fingerprint readers, should be required.

We could go on, but none of this will happen unless this time really is different. If lawmakers won’t pass such measures, voters need to elect people who will. Unless we start making that happen this election season, the United States will continue to be the only country where these kinds of tragedies keep happening on an endless basis.

Student David Hogg who survived school shooting looks directly in camera, sends message to Trump and lawmakers: “Please, take action. Ideas are great… But what’s more important is actual action… saving thousands of children’s lives. Please, take action”https://t.co/pwO9MLc69Epic.twitter.com/DRxOxemBZJ

— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk)February 15, 2018