Jeffery and Brad are calmly discussing their different urban and rural perspectives. As a fifth-generation San Francisco living in small-town Alaska for the last 15 years, I've experienced both sides of that.
I knew respectable gun owners in the city. They tended to be quieter about it, had fewer bumper stickers, and of course had to go to a range or hunting to shoot. I also had friends held up while working as teenagers in drive-throughs, a father of a classmate was wounded with a rifle when racist, local teens were roughing him up, and - the biggest driver for most people - there were all the headlines and news reports of inner-city and domestic-violence deaths involving guns. I understand how urban dwellers see guns as a problem and I note that where things are the worst (DC), the locals are most adamant about controlling guns.
In a small Alaskan town, most men have guns and while we were looking at day-care options for the our toddler, we didn't ask IF they had guns in the house, but WHERE the guns were stored - "the nightstand" being the wrong answer and "locked in the gun cabinet and ammo is kept in the basement" being a good answer. I know many more hunters up here, perhaps because there are a lot more tasty critters. For reasons of marital harmony, I don't hunt myself, but being a strong hiker, willing to carry multiple loads of meat out and being an above-average camp cook, make me a popular guy to have on a trip and earns an equal share of the bear/elk/caribou.
So I hope I straddle the line a bit - I certainly can have civil conversations with folks on both sides. A few points:
Gun control, as anyone seriously suggests it, doesn't restrict hunting or home defense at all. A 12-gauge and/or a 30/06 rifle will handle any hunting outside of Alaska and will drop a burglar far quicker than any handgun.
Rural, well-armed areas DO have lower crime rates. Some of that is probably fear of confronting an armed citizen, but there are many other factors. Making drugs illegal and therefore profitable not only causes gangs to fight for turf, but causes user to steal for their habit. And whether it is the worst part of Oakland or the most scenic, roadless, native village in Alaska; hopelessness breeds escapist behaviors be they drug use or suicide. Guns didn't create the hopelessness, but an armed desperate person often has a worse outcome.
Also, in a small town, you know most everyone. Sure, stuff happens, but more fingers are pointed and crimes get solved because all actions are less anonymous. Maybe more importantly, there aren't "too many rats in the cage" - I don't think we evolved as a species in 1,000,000-person villages. Small towns and small schools avoid many of the clique-ish and gang-like behaviors of bigger settings.
No despots have ever been overthrown in the US with guns. Reagan was a little extreme (and far too anti-wilderness) for my tastes, but he survived Hinckley's attack. Nixon would have been the clearest potential threat and he resigned. I just don't see paranoid hillbillies, even with guns converted to full-auto, standing up to federal or military forces and I think Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc, bear that out. "Red Dawn" (the old one and the new one) was a fantasy, not a documentary.
The gun owners want the gun-control crowd to have perspective: 10,000 gun deaths are less than 25,000 auto deaths. A lot of those deaths were gang bangers or victims or domestic violence. And they trot out their poster-child cases of someone defending themselves from a stranger.
And the gun controllers want the gun owners to have perspective: No one is going to take away sporting guns. A gun in your house is more likely to be used against a household member than a stranger. And they trot out their horror stories of school shootings, etc.
And the most fearful on each side drive the debate. Gang members and paranoid whackos are scary to many people, very much so to a few. Violence by strangers IS a possibility but some people seize on that way out of proportion to the risk.
I react to the start of such fears in myself by looking at the stats and the risks. The unknown is scary but the unknown is also very uncommon. I fly a lot and an airplane malfunction would be out of my control, but so unlikely, I dismiss it (except in small planes up here). But some people are incapacitated by their fear of flying. Yet they drive everyday which is FAR riskier.
If you want to live a long time then eat less, exercise more, don't smoke, and wear your seat belt. Your anxiety about guns will shorten the average life more than bullets would.
If you fear your neighbors, move where you don't have any (and join the paranoid, cabin-dweeling North Roaders in my area). If you fear the government, then don't break the law - problem solved.
There is common ground. Not on where the end point should be, but on small steps in that direction. Stricter enforcement of existing gun laws. Evidence-based programs to reduce inner-city hopelessness, joblessness, and violence. Better mental-health and substance-abuse programs. No one suite of policies will make everyone safe. But small steps DO help (driving deaths have been halved in a few decades, per-mile deaths are down far more in my lifetime). And small steps are politically possible.