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If I understand the viewpoint of gun defenders, they feel that the tragedy in Charleston wouldn’t have led to so many deaths if the people in church had been armed and had shot the murderer before he could do much beyond pull his gun.

That argument may be right, if everyone who fires back at a shooter is skilled enough and clear-headed enough to hit him and only him.

But with multiple shooters of different skill levels suddenly whipped into high excitement, one or more of them will probably, accidentally wound or kill innocents. A group of panicked shooters in the heat of a crisis can do more damage than a single shooter, even a crazy one.

“People should go armed to protect themselves” implies a society where nearly every adult should wear a gun because lunatics and monsters wear guns. I think that such a society would suffer more accidental deaths and wounds than we do now.

I’d rather prevent lunatics and monsters from getting guns in the first place. Complete prevention isn’t possible; still, I think we should try harder to approach it.

But what about the Second Amendment?

Its first words are “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” It seems to imply that anyone who carries a gun is part of an organization that protects the state’s security. It’s as if carrying a gun automatically makes you a member of the National Guard.

That’s an interesting concept: Anyone can carry a gun, but only if he or she joins a well-regulated state militia. I can support that.