Why does support for gun rights go up and support for gun control go down after mass shootings like the recent killings in a movie theater in Lafayette, La., and a church in Charleston, S.C.? In the Washington Post's The Fix blog, Amber Phillips tries to explain why, as the headline on her blogpost reads, "Americans increasingly see more guns as the solution, not the problem."

Phillips presents the data fairly, including Pew Research Center polling showing increasing support for gun rights and the idea that increasing gun ownership could prevent people from becoming crime victims, but you get the feeling that she is genuinely puzzled that, as she writes, "Increasingly, Americans see guns as the answer — not the problem — to mass shootings."

Why is this happening? She points to "powerful and well-organized pro-gun lobbies like the National Rifle Association" and "their mobilized and politically active group of supporters." The implication is that the pro-gun lobby is something like the hospital lobby, which just hired the former Obama administration head of the Center of Medical Services as its president.

But the NRA is different. It's a mass membership organization whose members have little or no financial stake in government gun policy. If it is "well-organized," well, there is nothing sinister about that. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to petition the government for redress of grievances and it applies to groups of citizens that are well-organized as well as to those that are not.

The better answer is that the gun rights advocates have the stronger arguments, and here Phillips deserves credit for, if not identifying them, at least pointing in their direction. She points to the evidence that if current gun laws were enforced properly, the Lafayette and Charleston shooters should not have been able to obtain weapons. She points out that voters generally support background checks for gun purchases, though she does not mention that the NRA supported and helped design the background check system.

But the logic of the gun rights argument seems to escape her. Gun controllers tend to envision an America in which there are few if any guns. In such a nation, they tend to think, people will be safer. But we don't live in such a nation and never have — and never will.

In the nation we live in, as the NRA's Wayne LaPierre says frequently (and which Phillips quotes, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."). I don't think that's quite accurate; it's possible to imagine situations in which a bad guy with a gun might be stopped by citizens who are not armed. But that's a whole lot more likely to happen if there is a lawfully armed citizen on hand.

Note that many mass shooters commit their crimes in "gun-free zones." They presumably calculate that there will be no one armed among their intended victims. Increasing numbers of Americans seem to be drawing the logical conclusion that gun-free zones are an invitation to mass shootings and that people would be safer if law-abiding citizens who wished to carry guns there could legally do so. That's a conclusion they could easily reach without prompting from a "well-organized lobby" — and a conclusion that might induce some to join such a lobby themselves.

The public seems to realize that the problem is not guns, but bad guys, and that in a large, free and mobile society you cannot count on law enforcement officials to be instantly available to stop them. And laws that should have prevented individuals like the Lafayette and Charleston shooters from obtaining guns do not need to be "revamped and expanded" (as Phillips says gun control advocates are likely to argue); they need to be enforced.