I was appalled to see The Post’s editors cowering at the feet of a deranged individual who committed an irrational act of violence and calling once again for increased gun control [“Senseless,” editorial, July 21].

I spent 30 years in uniform defending the freedoms that we all enjoy here in the United States. With that freedom come responsibilities and risks. I have a God-given right (or, if you’re a nonbeliever, a natural right) to protect myself and my family from harm. Criminals are called “lawbreakers” for good reason.

All the laws on the books have failed to prevent criminals from acquiring and using illegal weapons. Therefore, what possible rational basis is there for imposing more restrictions on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens? These would only create more “gun-free” environments for criminals to exploit at will.

Aurora, Colo., was just one more example of “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” I, for one, refuse to be a victim.

John D. Edgar, Stafford

We are often advised not to vote for a presidential candidate on the basis of a single issue. After another horrific mass shooting, I am tempted to ignore that advice and vote for whoever is most willing to fight to pass some sane and stricter gun-control laws. A candidate who has the guts to do that probably also has the guts, and the intelligence, to handle the other problems he or she would have to face as president.

Howard O. Allen, Middleburg

Politicians and other conveyers of hyped-up, religiously toned language designed to have a popular appeal have referred to the Colorado shooting rampage as an “evil” act. They are wrong; the shootings in Aurora, at Columbine High School, at Virginia Tech and in Tucson are the byproduct of mental illness. The shooters are or were sick young men, not perpetrators of evil.

We need to take a serious look at the emotional effects of today’s violent video games, films, TV shows and Internet offerings, which especially appeal to our young men, and we need to look at the ridiculously easy access people have to weapons and ammunition. Our society has become sick, too, and too ready to deal in violence.

However, since the profit-seeking purveyors of such media and weapons, and those lawmakers who gain by making it possible for them to do business, are generally acting out of self-interest, perhaps the term “evil” can be applied to them.

Rosalie DiNicola Sanchez, Rockville

I teach art to children at Glen Echo Park, which, like all national parks, permits visitors to carry concealed firearms under legislation signed by President Obama in 2009.

I have often wondered why anyone would feel the need to carry a weapon into such a serene place, where adults and children are at work and at play. But increasingly, peaceful public settings have become the scenes of unthinkable carnage because this nation values the right to own a gun over the need for public safety.

On Memorial Day, President Obama said that “sending our troops into harm’s way is the most wrenching decision that I have to make.” By ignoring the need for gun control, he is putting all of us in harm’s way. His response to the Colorado shooting was that it is a “reminder that life is very fragile.” Yes, and it is made even more fragile by lunatics who have the right to own, carry and use guns.

Leila Cabib, Potomac

Perhaps it’s time to consider that gun control does not work. Unless we become a totalitarian nation, there is very little likelihood of keeping guns out of the hands of people who want to harm others. When a shooting occurs, the second-most-urgent request, after ambulances, is for police to stop the carnage.

Taking citizens’ guns results in people who have no way to protect themselves. We should allow and even encourage the carrying of personal weapons — and offer effective training in how to use them.

An armed citizenry would give pause to anyone intending to do mass damage, since he or she would know that there would likely be someone shooting back, rather than helpless people waiting to be slaughtered.

Tom Kepner, Park Hall, Md.