When a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in California, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye jumped between the shooter and the rabbi. She was killed, but the rabbi credits her with saving his life.

When another man started shooting inside a classroom at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, 21-year-old Riley Howell charged him. Shot three times, Howell died. Authorities said he stopped what would have been a far worse massacre.

And when gunfire broke out Tuesday at a science, technology, engineering and mathematics school in Colorado, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo lunged at the shooter. He was fatally shot. Witnesses said his actions gave other students a chance to safely get away.

We mourn the loss of these people. They were heroes. Faced with the unimaginable, they were unshrinking. But the fact that people going about the business of everyday life — saying a prayer, giving a college presentation, sitting in English class — feel compelled to throw themselves into the line of fire puts to shame our so-called political leaders, who don’t even have the guts to pass sensible gun reform.

It’s good that lessons have been learned in dealing with emergencies. Much credit and gratitude go to the first responders who don’t flinch in racing toward danger. But they — and people such as Lori Gilbert Kaye, Riley Howell and Kendrick Castillo — deserve better. They deserve lawmakers who put their safety ahead of gun lobby interests and are willing to enact common-sense gun-control measures.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WASHINGTON POST