Mostly where I come from, guns reside quietly in gun cabinets and gun safes to be taken out for hunting or practice at the range or in case a burglar breaks into the house. Hardly anybody thought about carrying a pistol around on their bodies when they go to Walmart until fairly recently. After all, the Wild West was over we thought. At least that's how it used to be.
When I was in high school, some of my friends used to carry rifles and shotguns displayed in plain sight in gun racks behind the seats of their pickups. I don't remember anyone being militant about it. It was just something guys did out in rural areas and small country towns. Then, when that became illegal, things started to change and gun owners started getting more defensive. Then, as the number of holdups, muggings and robberies we saw on TV seemed to skyrocket, it felt like the Wild West had come back with a vengeance. Then, as the anti-gun movement became more aggressive about "getting guns off the street", I noticed that all of a sudden there's a lot more ammo being stored in those gun cabinets and gun safes than there used to be. Kind of like everybody's expecting something bad to happen.
After the last two presidential elections, gun stores all over East Texas sold out of a lot of basic kinds of ammo (shotgun shells, 357 magnum, 45 caliber, and 38 caliber and most popular rifle ammunition) in just a few days. You literally couldn't find the most popular sizes of ammunition for weeks at a time and when new stuff came in, it sold out overnight. A lot of gun stores put people on a list and took a deposit on ammo in advance of its arrival from the manufacturers. Gives you an idea of the climate created by the militant anti-gun movement.
My neighbors may be mocked by Saturday Night Live, dismissed as kooks by the press and characterized as gun nuts by politicians, but they are well armed, especially in rural areas. Choosing which home to rob is kind of a crap shoot and given the shortage of anti-gun folk in the region, the odds are really pretty poor that you're not going to walk into a hail of gunfire if you're burgling a place. And after you are shot, there's not a lot of love for you in the legal system as it's really tough to seat a jury of 12 people who have any problems shootin' outlaws.
A couple of years ago, an 80 year old man noticed that two guys had pulled up to his neighbor's house in a box truck and were emptying the place of valuables. He'd been asked to "watch the place", so he went over, got the drop on the boys and got on the phone to 911. Then on the recording, you hear him tell one of the young men to put down the gun and promising him if the gun came up, the young man was going down. The gun apparently came up and the young gentleman and his friend both went down. The grand jury refused to prosecute the old man under the East Texas tradition that there are some folk that just need killing.
All that to say this. The "gun problem" is going to be tough to solve even in areas where there is a heavy concentration of anti-gun activism. I moved to Washington State, thinking I'd be surrounded by unarmed anti-gun progressives. I'm an easy-going, tolerant sort, so I didn't mind so much. What I found was that outside of Seattle and Olympia, the denizens of rural Washington are armed quite as heavily as East Texans, if not more so. There are a lot of AR-15s and home built/modified weapons out there in the Washingtonian hinterlands. Many of these are of a firepower that would give anyone pause about getting aggressive with one of these sweet-tempered, church-going folks.
The thing is, they do love their families and are well-prepared to defend them. Gun control is going to be a hard sell with them. Given the number of drug-related multiple murders and famous serial killings in this area, it's hard to blame them for wanting to have a handy means of self-defense. I went to a men's prayer breakfast just after I started going to my church up here and after the amens had been said, me and an assortment of church deacons and elders went over to the gun show at the fairground. Apparently the head deacon was building a fully automatic AR-15 and needed some parts.
We also have some unhappy bears up here too. They sometimes come into neighborhoods and have been known to eat the family cat or dog on occasion. We are fond of our dogs and kitties, so we need to be able to scare the bears off sometimes. A fully automatic AR-15 would just about do that!