"Perhaps the horror of 20 children being killed in Newtown will finally push members of Congress to locate their spines and begin working to pass some sensible gun legislation. Consider that on the very same day as the Newtown massacre, a deranged man walked into a school in Chengping, China and tried to kill as many children as he could. He attacked 22 of them. But because he was wielding a knife, not one of the children died." Paul Waldman, US editor and author
The current heightened debate in the US media on gun ownership is as highly polarized as so much of American social discourse. Their argument seems to distill down to strategies for dealing with the nut jobs in society versus limiting access to automatic weapons that facilitate massacres. In any other civil society the difficulties presented by identifying and effectively managing all mentally ill individuals who might pose a danger to society, when set against those presented by rigorous screening and licensing of gun owners and limiting military-grade weapons to security forces, would create only a brief debate.
Not so in the US. Uniquely there it all boils down to the historical right of an American Patriot to carry a flintlock to fend off the 'foreign' tyrants, especially those known as the British Crown. Only nowadays that's morphed into fending off your fellow patriots with repeating weapons that don't need reloading. It's worth remembering that, at the time of the American Revolution, 40% of the population of the Thirteen Colonies weren't opposed to the Foreign Tyrant. Those guys fared badly in the first 40 years of the new republic, and many left. The descendents of those United Empire Loyalists, at least those here in Canada, don't seem to be any more gun-loving than the rest of us. Too bad they couldn't have stayed home down there - they might have kept things a bit saner.