I have to chime in to point out a reason for the Second Amendment that I am continually shocked does not come up during these debates. Our Founding Fathers were revolutionaries. They revolted against an organized and crown-funded army. They were only successful in this revolt because they were able to muster weapons roughly equivalent in technological advancements and deadliness to that of the British regulars. Having succeeded, they knew the importance of being armed in order to secure their liberty in the face of a tyrannical and insensitive government bent on using the nation's armed forces to destroy them. Now, as we have seen, an unarmed populace under a totalitarian regime like China, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Syria, or Egypt, etc. has little chance against an obedient dictator's armed forces if they do not have weaponry sufficient to at least have a fighting chance of acquiring the next higher order of weaponry. For instance, with a rifle, patience, and the proper training, one can acquire a tank.
Now, therefore, an armed U.S. populace is really the unspoken last line of defense against a government gone wild enough to call out U.S. armed forces against its own people, should that ever occur (there's a couple of small examples in our history I believe). So when you are considering whether the U.S. populace should be disarmed in the name of safety, you must stop to ask yourself "Do I completely and forever trust my government to do the right thing and respect my wishes and my freedom?" If your response is a snort, then you have no doubt studied history.
Note, I am not suggesting that a revolt is currently appropriate (should the Dept. of Homeland Security be monitoring this blog). There are a few groups in Wyoming and such who are ready to go for it right now. I'm just not with them on that at this time. I'd call them...well...nuts.
Also, there must be a balance between the destructive power of the weapons possessed by the populace and that needed to secure this unspoken check on government might. For instance, I would not suggest citizens possess hand grenades, rocket launchers, or suitcase nukes. Nor even large caliber fully automatic machine guns. But I do think that semiautomatic assault rifles are a tolerable compromise. They would afford a fighting chance against the kind of military likely to be deployed against the populace, yet (if you have experience with firearms) are not really very different from hunting and sportsmen's rifles except in cosmetic appearance. Assault weapons are ugly and for that reason spark fear in those unfamiliar with them and a misguided belief that they are deadlier than more elegant looking hunting rifles. Handguns are largely useless in combat situations, and not even a best choice for self-defense. They are simply a compromise when carrying around a rifle or a shotgun is too cumbersome.
People who do not have experience with firearms also mistake the ability to fire a lot of shots for deadliness. There are many accounts of shootouts with hundreds of rounds fired and few to no hits. It's like an episode of the A-Team or something. Most of the time, when I read of shooting rampages, I am just thankful that the perpetrator was not one of the kind of people I grew up around - competitive shooters. If they were, there would be a lot fewer shots fired and a lot higher death toll. Notably, I don't know of any incidents of highly trained marksmen and practical or self-defense shooter-types going nuts and shooting up a place. But anyway, the deadliest people in the past and current armed forces of all nations are snipers. They focus on a one-shot, one kill goal. Accuracy means a rifle and the proper training. That rifle only needs to hold one round. Movies depict a fantasy of wildly spraying a scene with a machine gun, without aiming, one-handed, from hip level and hoards of people falling down dead. Anyone who has actually fired a sub-machine knows that they're a hoot to shoot, but it's damn hard to hit your intended target. They're showy, but overrated.
I have no interest at all in hunting. It is boring and there's lots of icky guts to deal with at the end. I like my meat clean and packaged at the store. But I strongly support the right to bear arms. That said, if you are not willing to learn how to properly use a firearm, how to be safe with them, or you are afraid of them, then you have no business owning one. You will only hurt yourself or others.
People kill tons of strangers, friends, family members, and themselves with automobiles. They do it carelessly and in fits of rage. Yet we tolerate that even though automobiles have only justifications of convenience and economics.
So anyway, when I think of a rational basis for possession of firearms by the populace, hunting is my last go-to argument. In fact, I don't go to it. Self-defense against crime is #2. A pretty solid argument in my viewpoint, but its compellingness (is that a word?) varies depending on whether you live in rural Maine or a really bad part of L.A.
And let me point out that much of the violence committed with firearms (and without for that matter) emanates from the extensive organized crime created by the Drug War - my other pet political issue. So much so that I can't believe the NRA has not teamed up with LEAP to advocate for legalization and regulation of drugs. Drug violence gives guns a bad rep.
If you've read all of this, thank you for your attention.