I'm now convinced this is an irreconcilable cultural barrier linked to "The Old West" and other historical events, but I cannot get my head around the American fascination with guns.
How ever many times someone says "guns don't kill people, people kill people," I have to say that if that person didn't have a gun in their hand, they probably would not be doing as much damage.
I know there has been a big problem with knife violence in Britain, but I believe there's a fundamental difference between using a knife and a gun. You use a knife, and you actually have to connect with the person you're attacking. Forgive me for putting this image in your head, but you have to feel it going in your victim. With a gun, it's almost like pushing a button - there's no connection. Plus there's all that room for "collateral damage," not to mention gun accidents.
I originally thought the guns/no guns argument was political - that Republicans were pro-gun and Democrats were anti-gun, but that's not entirely true. On a semi-related theme, I can't understand why someone can think that keeping records of gun-owners is an invasion of individual's privacy, while at the same time thinks that keeping DNA records of participants at a perfectly legal political protest is fair game. Or for that matter why so many "pro-lifers" are also pro death-penalty.
Having talked about guns, I will point out an interesting fact for the benefit of my British friends: Maybe it's just the circles I move in, but despite living in New Jersey (legendary home to mobsters and all sorts of shady characters) for more than ten years, the only people I've ever seen with a gun in real-life are cops.