In all too many instances a discussion of a question of freedom and liberty can become little more than a school-yard argument with shouted slogans and personal attacks. There is too much volume and not enough thinking.
That is why this detailed discussion which freely offers the opposition viewpoint and then effectively dismantles it point by point with reason and empirical data is so valuable:
Rational Argument With Graphs
Let me only add one perspective to the discussion. Whether we are talking about gun control or CAFE standards for automobiles, the single factor that seems to be overlooked is the fact that America is a huge nation with considerable differences as we proceed across the land. Unlike Europe which tends to be relatively small countries with dense, often homogeneous populations, America is vast. Big cars don't fit down narrow streets and much of life is within walking distance.
While our cloistered legislators view the world from the congested towers of Washington DC with occasional visits to their urban constituencies, many of us live in the heartland. There distances are great, need to travel them is constant if we wish to have a job or food on our table, and roads require reasonable but much higher speeds to be effective. Cars tend toward SUV and pick-ups with significant size, payload and power-plants.
When trouble strikes and we are endangered or threatened our survival is dependent upon our own resources to deal with the situation because even in the most ideal conditions the first responders will take some time arriving. The question of outcome will be decided long before the uniformed police arrive on the scene.
You can scream on the street in New York City or Washington DC and you will be heard by someone. They probably won't come to your aid, but you will know that you were heard. You probably are going to be the star of the 10 PM news as the ubiquitous surveillance cameras capture your acquiesence to the goblins who are beating you. You wouldn't want to have a weapon there, of course.
In a lot of the country, you can scream quite loudly and no one is there to hear. I like the idea of being responsible for myself. I would be happy to have law enforcement come to my rescue, but I realize that until they get here, I'm in charge. Hence you find us disillusioned and clinging to our guns...