You see, for every dry and academic report proving that private gun ownership reduces crime (Editorial Bear lists some here) there's an inbred idiot like this:
Man Shoots Wife While Installing Satellite Dish
by John Blunda, WCSH Portland
A Missouri man shot his wife while trying to install their satellite television dish.
The Deepwater, Missouri man apparently wanted to punch a hole in the wall to run some wires. When drilling didn't work, he used bullets. He says he had no idea his wife was standing outside in the line of fire.
Full story here.
This illustrates the major problem in letting everybody have the right to own firearms. You're letting everybody have the right to own firearms.
And 'everybody' is a bloody idiot.
As far as I'm concerned, it's fair enough to own a handgun for 'home defence.' Whatever you think about gun control, it's a proven fact that burglary rates in America are minuscule compared to Great Britain because nobody wants to raid a house if the owners are 'packing heat.'
It's also perfectly acceptable to own shotguns and rifles for hunting - when I was growing up we had a shotgun that my father used to blast magpies with.
The problem lies in dumb people owning guns. Like people who own an excessive number of guns (there's being a collector and there's being a small, one-man military dictatorship.) Or people who use guns for a purpose to which they're not designed (like installing a satellite dish, or changing a car tyre.)
Dumb people owning guns. That's the problem. And you don't even have to be that stupid to be a dumb gun owner. When I was a teenager, I had a blank-firing six-shooter and after emerging from one accidental, ear-ringing cloud of gun smoke, I discovered first hand that you can never take anybody's word for it when they tell you 'don't worry, it's not loaded.'
Until gun owners stop bleating mantras like 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' and actually start doing something about keeping guns out of the sticky fingers of stupid people, the only cause they're going to be giving ammunition to is the anti-gun lobby.