I'm ex-LEO, and my personal feelings about gun control is that everyone should be trained to use firearms, and have the ability to carry them unrestricted. We've had lots of "perfect storm" killings where the presence of a gun would have saved lives, such as the Virginia Tech massacre... but the "gun free zone" only applied to law abiding citizens. Thugs and killers don't care what the rules are... they have evil to do... and all gun control does in that situation is make it easier for them.
I own guns and shoot almost every weekend. I have a concealed carry permit, and often am "heavily armed" when I go out... meaning primary weapon and backups. Having been an LEO, I also know to carry enough ammo to engage in a gunfight if one started... a lot of gunfights go to the guy that doesn't run out of ammunition.
Understanding how to handle guns, and making them "nothing special" takes a lot of the risk out of them. If you learn to handle them safely, and stick to the rules, you should never have trouble... and if you need the weapon, you'll know how to handle it.
A couple of months ago, I had a van full of illegals that tried to "bum rush" my car at the ATM, and all I had to do to stop it was pull out my .40 cal Smith and rack it in front of them... they piled back in the van and sped off... so the "view of a gun" has value of protection as well as the ability to shoot somebody. Thugs look for victims... not confrontations... and when they find themselves outgunned, or trying a victim that turns out not to be a victim... they fold pretty quick.
The saying is "I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by six"... and a gun's presence is a safety valve for a lot of situations, and while it provides "deadly force", it also provides "stopping power" when perps see it pointed in their direction.
It takes training, and regular practice, however to be both safe and effective.