The Virginia Tech massacre in April once again sparked debate in America about guns.
But rather than arguing for tighter gun control, some states are now debating the rights of individuals to carry weapons in more and more places.
The Governor of Texas - one of the states with the most liberal gun laws - recently suggested that people who had the appropriate licences should be able to carry firearms anywhere in the state - including churches and university campuses.
In Crossing Continents, Kati Whitaker examines the American obsession with the gun.
She talks to some surprising supporters of Governor Perry's stance - people who have been the victims of gun crime themselves.
And, if guns are an inevitable part of life in the US, she examines an extraordinary initiative in the ganglands of Chicago that is attempting to deal with the epidemic of violence by changing the culture surrounding guns.
Using former gang members as an "antidote", the Ceasefire Initiative has undertaken the dangerous work of intervening between gangs to try to reduce gun crime.
And it appears to be having dramatic success in encouraging the young and vulnerable of the city's deprived areas to lay down their weapons.
BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 5 July 2007 at 1102 BST.
It was repeated on Monday, 9 July 2007 at 2030 BST.
Presenter: Kati Whitaker
Producer: Jennie Walmsley
Editor: Maria Balinska