The way i see it, both sides are right, and both sides are wrong.
True, "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." True, disarming peaceful and law-abiding individuals is no way to ensure public safety. But isn't it obvious that keeping track of who's buying guns HELPS to keep them out of the hands of those who can't do so, legally?
Hunting weapons are not the issue here. Why, in the name of all the gods at once, are hunters rallying behind the zealots who want to have their clips holding scores of cartridges and truly automatic weapons? Such things are not used in hunting -- their only application is anti-personnel. And until home break-ins are committed by mobs, crying "personal defense" is pure bullshit.
But another thing that the pro-gun faction totally FAILS to consider is, not everyone who wants to buy a gun for "personal safety" is a rational, intelligent individual who will be a responsible owner. I know a man who is ostensibly intelligent and responsible, but who cracked emotionally one day and threatened to kill himself in an attempt at wife-manipulation. He could as easily have threatened his family. NOT ONE of my gun-loving friends would ever suggest that this guy didn't deserve to own a weapon. Maybe a background check would have picked up his use of properly-prescribed psychoactive pharmaceuticals ... and maybe it wouldn't.
Conversely, arguing that individuals should NOT have the right of keeping arms to defend themselves, because in certain circumstances the weapons have been taken away and used against them, is sophistry beyond appropriate debate. You can't fix stoopid, but sometimes you can fix evil -- by forever ending ALL actions by those who DO evil.
What the public argument NEEDS is intelligent, unemotional, rational debate ... but that won't happen, not in this land of sensationalist media. Nor do i think that confiscation would do a damn bit of good even if i were a fan of disarmament. There are too many undocumented firearms in the US (and Mexico is too handy for smuggling in more), which would immediately be hidden away at the first hint of the possibility. The ONLY way to make this country more law-abiding is through education, and actually enforcing the laws we already have.