It's amazing what a difference the time makes in slashdot's opinions on this issue. There is no homogenous American "gun culture." I collect and shoot historic firearms because I find them fascinating and I hugely enjoy being able to restore and preserve them. However, no one else in my family owns any firearms and I grew up with parents who were quite opposed to the idea of gun ownership in general. I think you assume that everyone in the US owns guns because of some sort of derailed-train tradition with no reasoning behind it besides "my Dad owned guns..."
The fact is that many people responsibly own firearms for both sporting uses and self defense. Guns are absolutely misused at times, but the irresponsibility of some few is not in any way an acceptable reason to strip me of my right to have firearms and use them for whatever legal purpose I desire.
I think you will also find a considerable body of research and opinions that contest the idea that banning all guns would even result in an any decline in violent crime. Off the top of my head, this paper is a good example:
Note the fact that the authors enumerate extensive statistics and constantly reiterate that they are surprised to report that, contrary to popular opinion, there exists no favorable correlation between limits on gun ownership and a reduction in violent crime.
I have no intent to convert you or the many posters in this thread who seem to share your perspective into gun lovers, but I would greatly appreciate even a moment of consideration before emotionally founded kneejerk responses that accuse all Americans of being uncivilized morons who need a strong government to take away anything they might hurt themselves with. Thanks.