To answer the question, the papers talk to the people who are, probably, the most unfit to answer, academic professors. The professors bloviate about hunting, and the "Wild West." They pontificate about how the NRA uses its vast lobing dollars to coerce lawmakers in to passing gun friendly laws. There is some quick mention of the Minutemen and the old militia, now made obsolete by the National Guard.
The problem that the professors have is that their point of view is nearly universally anti-gun. Their responses echo the European way of thinking, thus the world rarely gets a truly American perspective.
The basis of the American "love affair", to use their term, with guns is this phrase in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I could never, in all of my life, put it better. It is the right of the governed to abolish a government that has become destructive to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is only one way the governed can resist a tyrannical government. That is through force of arms. You can not bargain, or negotiate with a tyrannical government. By its very definition a tyrant does not negotiate. The only thing that a tyrant, or tyrannical government understands it the barrel of a gun. Thus, Americans, armed with their personal weapons, stand ready to overthrow their government, should it become destructive to the unalienable Rights.
As the Declaration of Independence simply dissolved our ties to England, it is not binding law. For that we look to the Constitution, and the Second Amendment, to forever protect the right of the People to keep and bear arms.
This is why Libertarians, like myself, call for the unrestricted sale of all arms to American Citizens. I do mean ALL arms. If someone can afford it, I want them to be able to buy any weapon in the U.S. arsenal. Of course this is impractical. You can't have just anyone walk up, flash a passport and purchase a F-22... it would be cool, but you just can't have it. The U.S. needs to preserve its military edge over other countries, so there needs to be some balance with national security from outside forces. However anything unclassified, just as unclassified information is available to the public, should be fair game.
In the days before the American Police State, namely the ATF, this was so. I could purchase military equipment, such as a Browning Automatic Rifle, and own it with out having to notify the government of the buy. Now... not so much.
Can I haz one?
Guns secure freedom where laws fail. Guns are the ultimate guarantee. Americans know this. They treasure this. Europeans and other people scratch their heads, because they have had kings rule over them. They are used to being surfs, and slaves of tyrants. Americans threw off the yoke of servitude... Twice. Why were the slaves not allowed to own weapons? Because they could rise up against their masters. Arms are never allowed in to the hands of the oppressed. For with them, the oppressed will rise against the oppressors. Americans will not stand for oppression.
Americans look at Europe, and we scratch our heads. You Europeans, who have seen your lands scorched time and time again. You who have seen the blood of thousands soak the earth at the whim of tyrants. You who know and have monuments to those who would not submit. Why do you, time and time again, allow your arms to be striped from you? Why do you, time and time again, allow tyrants to again rise and oppress the governed?