What is the debate about?-some say different things: who is allowed to use deadly force, the individual or the State?-getting guns out of society, and protecting the innocent (especially children)?-the depth of control allowed to the people by the State in what weapons they may have?-other aspects of gun control?
Regardless of any of the questions, there are two facts of identity to be considered: 1) any removing of a firearm from an individual is the beginning of removing his ability to defend himself; 2) that banning (or controlling) firearms is a legalism and will not actually prevent their [mis]use. The two points are also related, but come from different angles.
On point one, who will be harmed by such control? The one who would be harmed by such a law of gun control is the one who would obey such a law. Harm comes directly in that individual is letting a third party (a legislature) limit the means that the individual may use in self-defense; harm comes indirectly for to violate the law to defend himself, he has violated the law and has to be concerned about being criminally charged.
For self-defense, proponents of gun control say call the police - this follows the assumptions of one having the means to call, and that the police will be present to help. Problems with these assumptions entail further assumptions that one has a cell phone, has a strong signal and isn't having that signal interfered with, the battery is not dead, and one has the physical capability to make the call and complete it - isn't being interfered with by the one making the 911 call necessary, along with the assumption that the police will be able to arrive and assist before greater harm is caused by the one who is necessitating the call.
On point two, it is the assumption that control will prevent criminals from using firearms and accidents from happening. Firstly, what makes a criminal a criminal?-he is breaking the law. So, with that would passing another law suddenly make it so he will become a law-abiding citizen?-no. Expanding the reach of the law into areas where it goes beyond 'no victim, no crime' into banning firearms then places honest individuals in Bastiat's quandary: what to do when moral law conflicts with legislative law? To be law-abiding when guns are banned is to make one more vulnerable; to own (for protection) a firearm that was banned is to break the law. It places on an equal legal level the parent wanting to protect the family with the robber who would harm them; it places the woman who wants to protect herself on the same legal level of the rapist who wants to violate her.
Gun control proponents then decry that if all guns were banned, then criminals would not even be able to have those weapons to be used in crimes. That is false, and the list of examples is long: colossal failures in prohibition and the war on drugs, to the less vast, but nonetheless real as in nearly totally controlled environments [prisons], inmates can still get drugs, and just like the rest of society, contraband exists everywhere (depending on location) from drugs, to music, to books and more. Contraband always finds its way for there is desire and laws cannot prevent desire.
With respect to accidents: the nature of an accident is that it is an unintended, rare occurrence. There is no law that can prevent the accidental. Laws may set up punishments for the consequences of accidents, but it can no more prevent accidents than it can prevent people from intentionally getting contraband. (More on this later).
The nature of a weapon is to more efficiently use force against an opponent; this is the same principle whether the opponent is an individual or a collective - even the State. Without a weapon, a an average-sized woman targeted by two powerful rapists in a van is nearly helpless; with a firearm (handgun) she has a great chance of negating, and overcoming her would-be rapists' physical might. Without a weapon, the merchant who is being mobbed by dozens, is nearly helpless to the mob; with a firearm ('assault' rifle), that merchant has a chance of keeping the mob at bay. Without weapons, the people who wish to be free, have to settle for what those who lead the State may allow; with weapons, the people can tell the State what its power is to be extended to, and not beyond.
The aforementioned is the difference between Linda Smith (pseudonym for an Oklahoma woman who killed one and wounded another would-be rapist), and being Shirley Lynette Ledford (raped, tortured and murdered by two men); the difference between gangs or mobs looting and leaving some Indian families destitute, and the Korean merchants who held off the mob during the L.A. Riots; the difference between the Jews in the ghettos before being led to the camps, and those following the Bielski brothers.
Having a firearm doesn't guarantee success, but it gives the would-be victim a fighting chance of not becoming a victim. Like the first examples, without means of defense one is more easily victimized; with a means of defense, one can fight back and have a chance at not being a victim.
The issue about firearms comes down to use, and efforts to prevent improper usage. Let's extend this principle of controlling things since those things may be misused. Automobiles may kill thousands a year; some deaths can be attributed to intentional vehicular homicide, but others were accidental. With that, shall we place a new ban on how fast people can drive, how fast manufacturers can create a vehicle to go, and have extensive checks on who can own and operate a vehicle? Some people are obese from overeating, shall we place bans on what everyone can eat, and monitor everyone's eating habits? More people are murdered yearly by silent weapons (clubs, bats, hammers, knives, etc) than are killed by firearms; shall we have background checks at hardware and sports stores? About the children, shall we extend State monitoring to everyone's lives, as well as authorize who can be a parent and approve parenting styles, to protect the children?
Some will decry: but guns sole purpose is to kill something!
My response to that is: no, guns sole purpose is to shoot. But, even if it was to kill… so?
The purpose of a knife is to cut, it is up to the wielder on if, or how it cuts; the purpose of a hammer is to hammer, it is up to the wielder on what gets hammered; the purpose of a firearm is to shoot something, it is up to the wielder whether that is a competitive target, live game or a human being - a human being can be a target by both a victimizer and a victim, that is a firearm can be used as an assault weapon to violate another's rights, or defend those rights. This is for when the victimizer is an individual, or a collective - like the State.
There is to way around the issue of gun control and its corollaries; it leaves those who want to be law-abiding with less defense, and has the false assumption that banning will prevent criminals from getting guns. Combine those two points and you will have citizens who are less able to defend themselves against those who know that their prey lacks teeth and claws - whether the aggressor is an individual or the State.