And yes, it’s also a cultural issue. A culture that’s optimized for hierarchical decisionmaking, rule of law and conformity as opposed to being more diverse and anti-authoritarian is much more likely to sustain an effective ban on guns, at least until a major cultural shift happens in the younger generations. I doubt anything like that could be implemented in the USA, even if the SCOTUS were packed with liberal activists who disregarded the 2nd Amendment altogether. [Emphasis added].“Rule of law” in the Anglosphere is a very different concept than in the sense it is being used here. Historically and not so long ago, the Japanese regarded their monarch as a deity. Rex lex is how they thought, and probably still think, about law. The fact that they replaced their god-king with a parliament is superficial. The idea of an unwritten common law is fairly incomprehensible to people from a civil law tradition.
In the English tradition, rule of law means lex rex. An armed populace follows rather naturally from this paradigm: every man a king and every home a castle. This attitude runs very deep in the American psyche, hence the efforts of our rulers on making a new people, sadly demonstrated by the above commenter's own ambiguity on this concept. Mental health and poverty are critical and very good issues to raise, but we are deeply and irrevocably divided over the solutions.
For my part, I own a gun not because I delude myself in the belief that I can overthrow a nuclear-armed government if necessary, but because I know our society has lots of crazy, violent people in it and the police are just there to zip up bodybags. But on the former point, I do want government actors, and even the democratic majority, thinking long and hard before doing anything really draconian. Like Jim Crow laws, and you can bet the many black and Jewish gun owners out there are thinking the same thing. I’m sure the Middle Eastern Christians would like to have more guns right now.
Obama is throwing a sop to his NYT/NPR demographic. I think the most the decorative Joe Biden will come up with is a ban on high-capacity magazines and maybe a prospective ban on ‘assault rifles.’ Congress might pass more rigorous background checks, but that wouldn't have prevented Newtown. Everybody knows once legislative debate starts gun sales head into the stratosphere (they’re already through the roof). For better or worse, that horse has left the barn.