I read this thread with interest, coming from a country which has very strict gun control, the right to bear arms is such a foreign concept to me. I was a police office for 15 years (a detective for 13 of those years) and carried a sidearm for the entire time. I feel confident that I can comment on the AU criminal underworld, but obviously, I know nothing of the criminal element in the US. In Australia, we had a fairly large shooting massacre in 1996 in Tasmania where one man killed 35 people and injured a further 21, this was and still is, our largest gun related crime.
Following on from this, the Government, with public support (although there was opposition), further tightened our gun control laws and instigated a moratorium period in which it bought back, at higher than retail price, 100s of thousands of guns from people who, under the new legislation, would no longer be permitted to own or carry a firearm. Additionally, gun owners are now required to have their firearms secured in a gun safe at all times when not in use, people cannot simply carry them around for protected at all. If you are not a security guard, police officer, farmer culling pests or other similar profession, it is absolutely against the law to carry a gun, no exceptions.
One would think then, as law abiding civilians cannot carry guns, that the criminal element would have free reign. Well, speaking from experience, it is simply not the case. Yes, criminals can and do find ways to buy guns, but shooting related offenses are very very rare here (I'm not saying that shootings don't happen, only that they are rare). I'm citing this example, not because I think a similar process would work in the US, but as an example of why it would not.
As people have rightly pointed out, US citizens have the right to carry guns, a right that has existed for a great length of time and as such, has become part of US culture. So unless one can find a way to change culture, then no law banning forearms would ever pass, let alone work (IMHO).
People can argue for and against gun control until the cows come home, for every stat supporting armed citizens, there is an equal and similar stat supporting disarming citizens.
Also, arguments such as, well if you ban guns then ban knives or schools or some other ridiculous option. But this is not an issue about knives, or schools, it's an issue about guns. All problems cannot be solved at once, they can only be tackled individually, it's a fools errand to try and justify gun control (or the opposite) by pointing to other issues. For example, arguments such you can't ban guns because knives are just as bad, or alcohol is just as bad, or medical incompetence is just as bad. These arguments will go nowhere and are fruitless because they seek to deflect the issue rather than address the issue.
I truly feel sorry for law abiding citizens that the US has ended up in this position.
I hope some way can be found to solve the problem, but as it's such a cultural problem (not just a gun problem), it's not going to be easy. All I can say is this, I live in a society where the population is not armed, but I feel just as safe as I possibly could in any modern society. But as I've said, guns are not part of the culture here and to be honest, having seen the seedier side of life, I'm thankful that they're not.