K2, Patrick, Mark, Mossie and Bixa...thank you very much for your responses. It seems that the reason pro gun laws continue to exist has little to do with defence of self or family and more to do with "Mine is bigger than yours!" (or faster, more lethal, more expensive)
Just as the popular self image of Australian men involves sun, sea, surfing, beaches and bronzed fit bodies, so the self image of a certain group of American men derives from Hollywood creations. The settlers, farmers, stockmen, explorers, miners and ordinary people became heroes when they took on a massive country and developed it. What did they all have in common? Guns. Who were the hero's heros? Gunslingers.
As the above posters have shown, shooting at things, even targets, raises all sorts of emotional and other issues. When shooting at tin cans on the fence becomes stockpiling an arsenal of Death-dealing weaponry, the argument for self defence is patently ridiculous.
And that fellow over there, he got on the bus at the kindergarten. I hope he is not going home to a collection of guns and no friends.
See previous post in response to Questa. (My computer is acting up, sorry).