Ok so I'm no Maddox, but I do have a lot to say. Guns, Germs, Steel, Politics, War, Religion, Money, Power, and even the finer things in life. You know, the forbidden topics.
But for today I'll start with Guns! It's a great hot-button point. It comes down to, what is the most powerful weapon that people can get and carry around with them at this moment in time? Clearly the answer is a small nuclear device. A "suitcase Nuke". They exist, but are out of the price range or attainability of almost the entire population. And they are illegal. Since that's not practical, the real answer is a semiautomatic handgun or rifle (or semiautomatic shotgun depending on your situation). I'm not talking about people serving in militaries, I'm talking about the average Joe, Pierre, Sally, Jose, or Muhammad. It used to be black poweder rifles. Before that it was a crossbow, before that it was a combination of swords of some sort of metal and bow and arrows, and before that it was some form of club or sling or other missile weapon. I could go all the way back to the empty hand.
So now at this point in time in humanity the deadliest force that humans can carry around with them is a modern gun. Should we average people be able to carry such a weapon with us? That is the heart of the real question. I say the answer is yes. Yes with some caveats. It should be absolutely possible for any citizen in a modernized, "first world" nation to legally carry this new age of weapons. I'm leaving out the 3rd world nations for the obvious reason that you can't police them anyways. As we found out in Iraq and Afghanistan, every household has a fully-automatic AK-47 anyways, which far surpasses any firepower an average citizen can buy here in the United States. Back to my story - It was certainly legal for the the ruling class, even the public to carry around swords when they were the pinnacle of human portable weaponry. So the question must be asked, what level of portable weaponry do criminals have? Then answer is of course the gun. So if criminals don't follow any gun laws, and can easily acquire the millions and millons of easily avialable guns on the black market, then how does the citizen protect himself or herself from that? The answer is that they are allowed to legally carry their own. Now I'm not saying it should be easy to get a license to carry a gun. But in fact it isn't already. You must pay a good deal of your own (non-gov't assisted) money to 1) buy a 400-500 dollar gun, then 2) take a $250 class to get the cert you need to take to the local police station and present it along with filling out a lengthy background check, which includes quite a bit of personal information, then 3) take that paperwork to the court clerk in a self provided envelope, and pay the $50 fee for processing. Of course you have to pay for the stamp to boot since you have to provide the self-addressed envelope to the clerk so that they can mail you your license in 30 days or so.
All that is not "easy" to do, but it is completely do-able by any determined citizen with a clean record. Now you don't have to go through all those steps just to buy a gun, but I would argue that everyone should in order to buy their first handgun. This way you would at least ensure that the good and honest citizens have at least a basic understanding of gun safety and operation, and would be somewhat decent shots, which is also important for someone who carries a gun.
Many people say "imagine a world with no guns", and that's what the gun banners want. But we all know that will never happen. There are just too many guns, too many criminals, and they have already become our modern weapon of chioce. At no time in human history have humans "devolved" in weaponry. I say, imagine a world where all of the good people carry guns and know how to use them. They are in the vast majority of the population. Now where does that leave the criminals who are armed and want to do ill??