It's sad, but I think Americans have 'missed the boat' where it comes to minimising threats from being shot or shot at. If there were hardly any guns there'd be hardly any shooting. As it stands, a person loses his temper, emotions take over and, if a loaded gun is handy - bang! In countries where firearms are prevalent, people shooting people is prevalent.
It could likewise be said that in countries where the carrying of knives as weapons is prevalent, stabbings are prevalent. Argument! I'm loosing this fight! Out comes the knife....for protection.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a country where even the police didn't carry guns - and this in a time of a World War: England during the 1940s. I don't know the statistics, but I doubt there were more a dozen deaths a year due to house-hold gunfire. And this whilst a full scale fight was going on between the British and German armies. Oh, and not one soldier came home feeling they had to 'bear arms' to protect their families.
People carry guns out of fear. "You've got one, so I better have one. In fact, mine better be a bit better than yours, so I'll get a machine gun."
If I sound cynical it's because I am.
When I came to Australia the cops carried liittle .25 automatics which were always hidden away under their uniform coats. Even here in Aussie, where many people owned a .22 rife for shooting rabbits or a shotgun for duck hunting, there was very little gun crime.
That began to change when our government made a big mistake, in my opinion, they let the American soldiers from Vietnam come to Australia on R & R leave and with that followed the drugs so many of them were hooked on. Once the drug culture took off here, the criminal activty stepped up. Aussie cops were issued with more powerful weapons, .38 revolvers. This increased to Glock automatics.
Point I'm making, the more one side steps up, so does the other.
That's part of it. The other is the money the arms manufacturers make in perpetuating world fear. As I said, I think America has missed the boat...and I don't see anyone building another one in our lifetimes.