People like to sight imaginary occasions to use a gun in self-defense, to justify owning them. Guns are seldom used successfully (if you can call shooting someone having succeeded at anything), in self-defense. When they are it’s prominent news. On the other hand, 80 people a day are killed by flesh ripping, bone crushing, nerve ripping bullets.
I think the main reason for owning guns is to shoot them. For the year 2007:
1.) There were 326 justifiable homicides,
2.) 613 accidental deaths (1.88 times more than justifiable homicide).
3.) 12,632 homicide deaths
4.) and 17,352 suicides,
5.) for a total of 31,224 firearm-related deaths, in a single year.
Easy access to firearms and a culture of fear have the predictable consequences noted above. There are no good options there. We do ourselves a shameful disservice, when we choose to ignore those consequences.