There are several popular arguments that come up all the time when talking about gun control.
I am not interested in getting into arguments about weapons definition of assault weapons ("that's not automatic; it's only semi-automatic", "there's no such thing as an assault rifle"). Those arguments seem to exist solely for gun enthusiasts to show disdain for others, and anything where we are focusing on looking down on other people is counterproductive.
There are guns that make it possible to be much deadlier much faster, and they are often involved in headline grabbing big shooting incidents that drive the conversation, but it's probably the wrong conversation.
That's good, because going there will next result in very fatalistic arguments: "You can't stop them; they would just find another way." Keep that in mind when it comes to suicides, because that comes up a lot there too, and it's a lie. Sometimes all you need to do is stop someone in one moment to get them to their next moment. Don't lose track of hope, because we will need it.
The most common legislative reforms mentioned are universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles. Most gun deaths are not committed with assault rifles. It's the children playing with the handgun that is supposed to be there for protection, or maybe the rifle that is used during hunting season. It's accidents when hunting season is celebrated with beer. It's the argument that breaks out between relatives. It's the escalating domestic abuse. It's someone taking offense to another driver, or loud music, or someone texting in a theater. The mass shooter in our mind was specifically planning on killing; a lot of these deaths - even the ones that aren't accidents - still weren't that intentional.
That's going to be harder to fix by legislation. Even if you focus on safety training, where do you put it? As a part of a school curriculum? Lots of people will object to that, and you don't get those who are already adults. License people for gun use, including passing a test on gun laws and safety? There are already so many people with guns out there.
I have a friend who works a suicide hotline, and she learns a lot through that. One big problem is that often when you have a suicidal member of a household, and you ask the other family members to at least temporarily remove the guns, they won't do it. It is their right to keep guns! Well, I guess it is also their right to lose a family member, but even for my most difficult family members I know what I would do and give up to keep them alive, and I can't comprehend that you wouldn't find somewhere else for the guns.
We are not always sound in our decision making about guns. For those who are more against guns, there can be a strong emotional revulsion to the associated violence, where they do not understand that it can be reasonable to enjoy guns and want to have them around. For those who love guns, it can become so entwined with identity that any attempts at changing the status quo can feel like a personal attack. Neither attitude is helpful.
My thoughts go in three directions on this, and it will not be practical to explore all of them today. I'm not sure how long it will take to get there, but we will be looking at background checks, and racism, and mental illness, and how we talk about things, and interpersonal violence and sexism and toxic masculinity, maybe not in that order.
Look, if the answers were simple we would have fixed everything already.