In his March 1 op-ed column [“Can we grant a grieving father’s wish?”] Eugene Robinson wrote: “Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee could not help but be transfixed by the witness who sat before them Wednesday,” referring to Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, 6, who was murdered by a man with an assault weapon in his schoolroom in Newtown, Conn.

Unfortunately, all but one of the Republican members of the committee left the room before Mr. Heslin spoke, leaving the weeping father talking to a half-empty dais.

I attended the full hearing and sat near other family members of victims. It was embarrassing and sad to see government officials who are responsible for hearing testimony on this important legislation to ban assault weapons literally walk away from their responsibilities.

I guess the National Rifle Association is right that the “Connecticut effect,” as one of its lobbyists put it, will wear off — and that lawmakers in the thrall of the gun industry can then proceed with ensuring that gun makers can continue to sell these military weapons to the general public.

Carol A. Baume, Washington