Do you like libertarian philosophers being very careful, and arguing a narrow, but strongly pro-liberty position? Michael Huemer does just that. HT: BHL. The conclusion: If you believe in rights at all, then the right to self-defense (and loved-ones defense) is among the very first rights, and barring gun ownership is barring effective self-defense, and therefore very strongly protected as a rights-issue. Not, mind you, a no-restrictions position, but a strong foundationalist rights position.
But then the Atlantic and Volokh both jump in on the Drug war side of the gun problem. You want fewer murders? Well, gun homocides have been going down for decades...especially as more and more states institute shall-issue concealed carry. Gun deaths are up exclusively because gun-suicide has increased more than gun-homocide has decreased. But the best way to stop the violence in the streets is to stop the drug war. Just like with the Chicago booze gangsters.