Oh, and that statistic that says that having a firearm in the home increases one's chance of death by homicide by a factor of 2.7, is from 1997. Sure, it isn't as recent as we would like, but unless this trend has reversed for some reason (there is no reason to expect it would), the numbers are still reasonably accurate.
There is also another study, which shows that the mortality rates among those who purchase a new firearm via suicide and homicide are substantially increased over the first 6 years of ownership. Again, the study was done in 1991-1996, with results printed in 1999, but without a more recent study, or proof that the trend has changed, I consider these numbers to still be reasonably accurate.
In the case of attempted rape, there is also the standard options of pepper spray, stun gun, or even the forthcoming stun jacket, the first two of which are less expensive, easier to conceal, and don't require getting a concealed-carry permit. I'll also mention that 7 out of 10 rape victims knew their attacker, and only 5% of those attempting rape had a weapon. Pepper spray is the reasonable solution to the "defense against rape" problem, far more so than handing a gun to every woman who walks alone, and reduces mortality among both assailant and victim. Oh, but you know, the tendency for guns to cause more deaths only occurred in basically all of the 18 countries surveyed source. Eighteen countries is not a sufficient data point.
Would there continue to be violence if there were no guns? Of course, but as the studies state, there would be fewer deaths. Also, there are studies stating that violence is a psychological issue stemming from a lack of love and affection during early childhood, followed later by the "puritan" ethic of "pleasure is wrong".
As for drugs and/or tobacco removal, people have been getting high since the dawn of time. People want escape. Prohibition costs billions a year with what effect? Drug lords, drug gangs, etc. Replace the prohibition with limited legalization (only those drugs which are known to have limited long-term effects, limited overdose potential, etc.), control, distribution, etc., and you can fund the rehabilitation of addicts and illegal drug users via funds from "responsible" drug users.
Why isn't this happening? Because the same people who say that all drugs are bad, are the same people who are taking their Prozac, saying that masturbation is wrong, etc. Rather than looking at the problems of drug abuse as a desire for escape and pleasure, they look at it as what the poor, undereducated people do. And because those that get caught are predominantly poor, undereducated, minorities, they don't see it as a problem.
So, what is the problem that America is really looking at today? The people who are in power tend to be people who have no desire to know the truth, or for Americans to know the truth. You want an example? WMD, the predicted costs of war in Iraq, Social Security Privatization, "activist judges", global warming, evolution, etc., and that is just what I've read about this morning.