It's a common refrain that gun control won't work, that it's too late. But you never really know until you try, do you? People said the same thing about gun control in Australia. I was here for the debates in 1996, I heard the arguments against it. But at the end of the day, most people followed the law. Some didn't - my inlaws, for instance, buried a few guns, because they are a bit conspiracy minded and thought that the government was bringing in gun control to impose tyranny. My husband and I laughed about it (behind their back) and they promptly forgot where they'd buried the guns - and 20 years on they wouldn't be usable anyway. And yes, it is still possible to get a gun on the black market, if you have connections and know where to ask. But shootings are down - suicides are down - there hasn't been a mass shooting since 1996.
I think gun control works for three reasons. The first two have to do with storage, and the last has to do with type of weapon:
1) It prevents accidents. If you have to store your guns safely, there is a much smaller chance that your 2 year old will find your gun and shoot her sister.
2) It gives you time to think. If you have to think before you grab a gun, you have time to consider if it's really the best choice. So many stupid, senseless deaths occur because someone pissed someone else off, and they had a gun handy. They don't think through the consequences. If that person had to stop and go to a gun cabinet and unlock the cabinet and grab a gun and find the ammunition and load the gun, chances are, either the person they're angry with would have the chance to get away, or they'd think, "Hold on, this is really dumb, it's really not worth killing someone because their dog pooped in my yard."
3) Any time you make it harder for people to get their hands on weapons that can cause mass casualty, it's a good thing. Nobody needs an AR-15. They serve no practical purpose, outside of the military. So why should they be widely available? If you want to shoot big guns, join the Army. If you can't pass their background check and mental health tests, I sure as hell don't want you owning a gun as a civilian.
It is actually remarkably easy to get a gun in Australia; you have to take a class, and you have to be licensed, but they will give you the answers to the test during the class, so, as long as you pass the background check, you will get a gun. But because there are laws dictating what types of gun you can own, and because there are laws dictating how the guns are stored (and yes, police do check to make sure that you are storing them appropriately), gun violence has decreased. It's still not perfect. Nothing ever is. But it's better.
The other day a mother accidently drove her car into a classroom in Sydney, killing two 8 year old boys. That is the sort of senseless tragedy that makes sense to me. My heart aches for the children and their families; but my heart also aches for the mother who, in a distracted moment, put her foot on the accellerator instead of on the brake. That night I looked at my own 8 year old son and thanked God that it wasn't him. Then I remembered Sandy Hook. My daughter was 6 when that happened, the same age as so many of the child victims. I can make my peace with a mother accidently driving her car into a classroom. I can never make my peace with a man opening fire on a classroom of six year olds.