SATURDAY was Gun Appreciation Day in the United States.Don't care? Well, you should. Because it again reinforces how far apart we are from America on the gun issue.
And for that we can be thankful.
And it also shows that we need to be careful we don't swing too hard towards tighter gun control that will affect legitimate users of firearms.
We really need to appreciate that we don't have the absurdity of the US Constitution's Second Amendment that, 200-odd years ago, gave the American population the right to bear arms.
The authors of the amendment never had assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols in mind.
Yet the nutcases of America's National Rifle Association have distorted the amendment to whip up a religious fervour over gun ownership.
You only have to witness its response to the Newtown school massacre, where it advocated putting guns into every school.
It was inappropriate and dumb, and failed to address the real issue at hand: America's obsession with guns and easy access to assault weapons that have no place in civilian hands.
If you want to see how rancid the US gun-lobby position is, check out the performance of gun advocate and radio host Alex Jones on the recent Piers Morgan show.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Oxford Dictionary is upgrading its definition of loony by including a reference to Mr Jones.
We all know former prime minister John Howard's response to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 was to ban semi-automatic weapons.
There was a strong outcry against Mr Howard's move, as most semi-automatic gun owners at the time had those firearms for legitimate reasons.
It was never the case that we had housewives carrying concealed pistols in handbags or beer-gutted men in caps with machine guns in suburbia, as the US currently does.
Most of Australia's gun owners were, and still are, hunters, target shooters, or farmers.
Farmers need guns for vermin control and to humanely put down suffering livestock.
They don't like doing it, but it is a fact of life that animals sometimes need to be put out of their misery quickly.
And hunters perform a valuable role that goes unappreciated by the wider society. In the past 12 months, 116,000 foxes have been eradicated in Victoria - nearly all of them shot.
Foxes are not warm and fuzzy. They are vicious non-native killers that have no redeeming features.
Likewise with the culling of deer in our High Country.
It's estimated shooters kill up to 34,000 sambar deer each year in Victoria's high country. And still they are out of control.
A handful of cattle have been carrying the can for damaging the High Country, when thousands of deer trample all over the place.
Wild pigs, feral dogs and marauding birds all need control. And the gun remains a vital tool in controlling them.
But it was clearly the case in 1996 that the Government had to do something to cut access to guns by people such as Martin Bryant - a young man with a spooky similarity to Newtown gunman Adam Lanza.
Despite heated protest, most gun owners accepted they had to give up their semi-automatic weapons for the greater good.
And those who genuinely need a gun can continue to access one.
The inevitability of a tragic event such as the Newtown school massacre is that gun control is again under the microscope.
The measures outlined by President Barack Obama this week are a step in the right direction, but are still not within a bull's roar of restrictions already in place in Australia.
Gun access for everyone is a terrible idea.
But local gun opponents need to remember we are not America. Some people in our society need guns to perform a role.
It is wrong to think all guns are bad.
Likewise, don't presume all gun owners oppose gun control.
Unlike many in the US, Australian gun owners are the last people to think everyone should have unfettered access to guns.
- Ed Gannon is editor of The Weekly Times