Firearms are dangerous tools, and as with any tool, proper training is essential in order to maintain safety. Trying to restrict the kinds of firearms people can buy only serves to perpetuate more violent crimes and to attain firearms illegally.
People with the intent to commit a crime are not going to buy a firearm legally, or register it in accordance with the law, because they are a criminal. It's not the firearm that possesses ill-intent, it's the person using the firearm in the commission of a crime. The same way a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, someone using a firearm makes the choice to do so.
Continuing with the driving analogy, we have different licenses for different classes of motor vehicles, why not different licenses for different types of firearms? Instead of a blanket "firearm safety course," people should get certified for the firearm they want to own.
Rifles and shotguns, classified as long arms, would require more education and training in ballistics. Rifles fire rounds much further and farther than pistols or shotguns, because of the ballistics involved, the neck of the cartridge, the powder used, and even the shape of the round. Shotguns deliver a very powerful round, usually with multiple small projectiles, at comparatively short range. Pistol owners would be required to take a class that emphasizes proper storage, and training for having to handle the weapon in self-preservation and property protection situations..
All firearm owners would be required to show proficiency in the firearm they want to purchase. Just as we have a behind the wheel test for drivers, we should test people's ability to operate a firearm, and people found to lack the skill necessary to operate a firearm safely would be disqualified...
I look at Switzerland, where all adult men are issued an "assault rifle" and required to be proficient in their use as part of the state militia. There is little violent crime in Switzerland, much less than here in the United States.
In 2002, there were 9,369 killings with a firearm in the U.S. compared to 68 in Switzerland, according to NationMaster.com.
Why is it in a country with fewer firearm regulations, there is so little crime, and here in the United States, where even ammunition sales are regulated, the crime rates are so much higher?
The laws in place for controlling firearms aren't working. People are still willing and very clearly able to circumvent existing measures to obtain them. In Switzerland, everyone has access to firearms, and crimes are still committed, yet firearms are rarely used in a crime. In the United States, firearm crime has it's own grim statistic.
It is unfortunate that there is no certain way to predetermine who might become mentally unstable, or who might be intelligent enough to evade psychological questioning and purchase a firearm for nefarious means. Yet restricting everyone from owning a firearm doesn't seem to be keeping people safe.