Thanks for the response Chris,
The statistics all came (originally) from UK government and FBI figures, though I believe they have had slight adjustments to allow for differences in reporting techniques.
A key statistic that I actually found yesterday is that people are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered in the US than the UK and the difference is all gun related. That may be caused by a tiny percentage of gun owners but it is still a scary statistic.
Gun ownership has always been relatively tightly controlled in the UK, at least since the Second World War, with handguns, rifles and shotguns all requiring licenses, which were strictly managed by the police. Ownership of automatic weapons has always been prohibited.
This changed in 1996 after a maniac killed 16 children and a teacher in Scotland (Dunblane massacre). Soon after ownership of all handguns was banned, even for use at shooting clubs and other licenses tightened up still further. Mass shootings have reduced substantially as has more general gun crime / murders.
Clearly with 300 million guns in the US, trying to take a similar route would be nearly impossible and unacceptable to many people. However looking at it rationally from the other side of the pond, something must be done to stop the killing and clamping down on guns seems the only effective solution — show me anything else that has worked anywhere in the world.
One final point, sure a gun is just a tool, but it’s a tool for killing which has to be against the good of humanity. Other dangerous products, particularly cars, have completely different purposes and with a little luck autonomous cars may significantly reduce road deaths if not eliminate them completely.