There are lots of reasons that some people hate guns, but in the real world, these are most often linked to hating the thing that people with guns can easily do, which is turning living people into non-living people. But in fiction, the gun-hater's reasons are often different. He just specifically dislikes guns. He has no problem whatsoever with other, less efficient means of turning living people into non-living people.
Sometimes there's a specific reason that their distaste is limited to the gun, such as a particular incident from his past or a sense that guns are "unsportsmanlike" or "cowardly". Some characters will even take a Heroic Vow against the use of guns. But most of the time, there's just a Writer on Board who wants to show that a character is moral enough to hate overt tools of violence like guns while glossing over the fact that they're in a show where a lot of violence has to be unloaded on people. Pressure to reduce violence with firearms in media in general, or the desire of an anti-gun author to teach us all An Aesop may also play a part.
While other forms of lethal violence will still be lethal, they translate less literally to real life, since it's less probable anyone in the audience could successfully dish out pain the way the hero does. Not everyone is a master martial artist who can kill with their bare hands, but anyone with a functioning couple of fingers could conceivably pull a trigger and get lucky. This also allows the story to be more action-oriented and dramatic when guns could end the tension much quicker. (BANG! — "ooh, ya got me!").
Most superpowered beings don't use guns, because frankly they don't need them. Why use a gun when you have energy blasts or the ability to wield melee weapons at hypersonic speeds?
This can also be an excuse for the hero to MacGyver up some Bamboo Technology rather than just shooting the bad guy. Remember, MacGyver himself may normally refuse to use guns, but even he's not above firing a steering wheel knob out of a cannon, as long as he converted the cannon out of a car muffler with his own hands.
Common in the Blood Knight, who will often think guns make things end too quickly. See Technical Pacifist as well, where, even if a Technical Pacifist still beats the crap out of people on a heartbeat, he will generally not use a gun. Related to Heroes Fight Barehanded.
Sometimes brought on by Executive Meddling or by the Media Watchdogs stooping over the cartoons, and may forgo replacing guns by removing them altogether.
A Super Trope to Con Men Hate Guns.
Contrast Gun Nut, Superhero Packing Heat, Batman Grabs a Gun.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
Roger Smith from The Big O, though its not much of a surprise since he's anime Batman. Though his reason is because it's not "gentleman"-like. He will use it if pressured, but won't directly attack people. And he's just fine with using the guns on his mecha. Again, just like Batman has no problem arming his vehicles with enough guns and explosives to take out a small country.
Yajiro Kojima from Grenadier uses a sword instead of guns because he thinks a person who kills with a gun doesn't feel the weight of the life he or she takes. Traveling with Rushuna makes him rethink that point, though.
Also Rock — he'd rather use words. In the yakuza arc, he refuses the pistol Balalaika offers him as a souvenir (after killing several former allies with it on his more or less indirect suggestion) but says he "won't forget that he pulled the trigger". Of course, if there's any shooting to be done, Revy's happy to do it for him.
Aiber hates guns, and violence in general. But then, he is a con man. Interestingly, he is very skilled with a firearm, as he demonstrates when he reluctantly picks one up chasing Higuchi. We're only told that he dislikes guns for personal reasons, and those reasons are never elaborated on.
Some areas of Fanon have it that Light also falls under this Trope, given his... less than pleasant experiences with them in the series. Canonically, he never uses one, but then the Death Note is a far more effective weapon. The one time he is offered a gun, he refuses simply because it is illegal for Japanese civilians to carry firearms.
In the manga, Ed says that he doesn't like guns and freaks out when he has to use one; this is consistent with his refusal to kill anyone throughout the series.
Inverted with Riza Hawkeye, who says she prefers guns to swords and knives because with guns, "The sense of death doesn't linger on the hands." But as Roy says, she isn't being truthful. Snipers kill in a very personal way, even if they aren't physically close to their victims.
In End of Evangelion, after Shigeru Aoba hands Maya Ibuki a gun, she expresses dislike of using guns and killing human beings even as NERV is being invaded by SDF.
Shigeru Aoba: (hands Ibuki a gun) Release the safety. Maya Ibuki: I can't! I just can't shoot this thing, Aoba! Shigeru Aoba: Of course you can! You've had basic training! Maya Ibuki: But I shot at targets, not at other human beings! Shigeru Aoba: Idiot! You kill or you die!
In Cats Eye, policeman Utsumi never uses a gun. The reason, as revealed later, is that he's actually a crack shot, but that caused him to become overconfident and do gun tricks at the shooting range; one of those tricks went awry, and he shot himself in the leg, causing him to start disliking firearms.
On a related note, Prince Philionel and his daughters Naga and Amelia, who Don't Like Swords, and as such are mostly Technical Pacifist martial artists.
Then there's the otherwise boisterous Naga, who's so Afraid of Blood she faints at the sight of it owing to the trauma of witnessing her mother's assassination but is perfectly happy to freeze people solid and crush them with golems.
Master Asia from Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a mecha example of this trope, always insisting to fight bare-handed and considers all guns as for cheaters in a fight. The backstory for the anime also revealed that most martial artists were quite pissed off at the inclusion of guns because Gentle Chapman of Neo-England won three straight Gundam Fights just by sniping them. It was Master Asia's win that saved the fights.
Several characters in Rurouni Kenshin. At one point, Yahiko snatches a gun away from a mook. The mook panics, but Yahiko throws it away and says, "Like I would really shoot. I'm a swordsman, guns are for sissies!"
Played around with in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt — while Panty is rather trigger-happy, that's with her magic panties * and several boys' briefs in one episode and Stocking's panties in another that turn into a Heaven gun. On the one occasion she's forced to use normal guns, she complains about how bad the used gunpowder smells.
Strike Witches: Upon joining the 501st JFW, Yoshika is quick to return the handgun she is issued, insisting that she won't need it.
Batman's hatred of the gun is well known, so much that he, as Bruce Wayne, bars his company from producing military contracts (uh...huh...) and will refuse to use a firearm even if it seems to be the only way out of a deadly situation. This is carried over into The DCAU as well, possibly best shown in Batman Beyond when what finally pushed Batman to retire is that he was forced to use a gun to threaten a kidnapper who was about to bash in his skull after he had been crippled by a bad heart attack during the fight.
Technically the military contracts thing isn't true, as we've seen various examples of military-grade hardware produced by WayneTech, from night vision goggles to attack helicopters. Presumably Bruce is fine with it as long as his company isn't manufacturing any weapon systems (those can be sourced from other contractors). Bruce tends to outsource a lot of WayneTech's R&D to other DCU corporations; he tends to use external tech more in the comics than, in, say, the Nolanverse.
One Nightwing comic book features a scene with Batman and Robin on the firing range in the Batcave. Robin is confused as to why they're doing this, since they never use guns. Batman says that they need to understand guns in order to better understand their opponents; and that they need to not be afraid of them.
Robin, likewise, gives this same explanation after a special ops member mentions while he beat her in a sparring match, she'd have an edge on the firing range. He also adds that part of the reason they don't use guns is, unlike police, they can't appear in court to defend the use of lethal force, so they don't use tools (like guns) that would result in deaths. After Dick became a Bludhaven police officer, Bruce made it clear that he didn't like him wearing his service revolver around the cave.
Assuming that you ignore the fact that Batman's been shot numerous times, and at one point wore a costume with a prominent target on his chest so that he'd be shot in the place where he had the most protection.
Final Crisis takes this to a symbolical level as Batman makes an "once in a lifetime" exception and shoots "poisons" Darkseid with an anti-New God gun only to be "killed" by the villain's eye beams a mere second after pulling the trigger. Much to the chagrin of fans, though it should be noted that Batman was going for a what could be a suicide run (as this was the "Day That Evil Won" and was most likely the last thing he could have done being trapped in Command-D) and of all places, Batman shot Darkseid in the shoulder. With a bullet that was, as he himself pointed out, like Kryptonite to Darkseid's kind. All that means is that instead of dying instantly Darkseid's body took a few moments to savour the poisonous effects.
In another Batman story by Grant Morrison, Joe Chill in Hell, a young Batman confronts his parents' killer, Joe Chill, and torments the man, depriving him of sleep, sneaking up on him in disguise, and generally just scaring the crap out of him for a month, all building up to the point where Batman drives Chill to commit suicide.
It's amazing how strict some Batman adaptations are about this, even when you'd think they'd ditch it. In The Dark Knight Returns, Batman hospitalizes countless mooks, snaps the Joker's spine (paralyzing but not killing him), and even has machine guns on his car. When he uses the guns, he internal monologues to the reader, "Rubber Bullets. Honest."
The reasons vary from writer to writer. Originally, the idea that Batman hates guns was linked to his parents' murder when he was a child. There are practical and legal reasons, too — self-awareness that he's a vigilante and the knowledge that in being so he has no business killing, while guns make it much too easy to kill and much too hard to be nonlethal. On a historical note, in his original Detective Comic appearances, he frequently used firearms and lethal force against villains. The creators only removed his use of firearms when they worried that it would make him resemble the Shadow too closely. Today, most depictions have Batman bending enough to arm his vehicles, for disabling vehicles and removing obstacles of course.
In a particularly amusing inversion, in an early Detective Comics appearance Bats comments that he hates taking human life — immediately before machine-gunning a car full of baddies from his biplane. This blog has a good rundown on instances where he used a gun.
While Batman's aversion to guns has generally grown over time, there are some situations in the older comics where Batman refuses to use a gun. In Detective 453 (the same series in which Batman fires a machine gun into a car full of bad guys), Batman is told to shoot a single bullet into the ground to prove he isn't really Batman, or be shot to death by a room full of criminals. He doesn't do it. This is probably due more to the inconsistency of older comics and a lazy writer, but it's probably the most extreme example of this rule.
In one issue of the Justice League, shortly after Wonder Woman had been blinded in battle in her own comic, the League was testing to see if she was still up to membership standards. As she was cheerfully thrashing the Flash, Green Lantern, and several others, Batman is seen off to the side talking with Superman. A few panels later, Wonder Woman has to use her bracelets to block a bullet...fired by Superman. As incongruous as it is to see Superman holding a gun, he has no actual problem with them (and was probably trained to use them on the Kent farm), while Batman couldn't bring himself to fire one even as a deliberately non-lethal test.
While Batman does not use guns, Alfred does. Alfred Pennyworth has threatened or actually shot numerous people throughout comics history with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Most notably, it is Alfred who kills the Penguin in Batman Earth 1. The apparent justification is twofold. First is that Alfred, in his mid-sixties, it unable to fight on a competitive level. Second is that Batman trusts Alfred's judgement implicitly, which he does not for the Robins, and certainly does not trust himself.
Batman's distaste for guns gets lampshaded in Grant Morrison's JLA/WildCATS crossover, in which the League hooks up with the premiere heroes of Jim Lee's Wildstorm line. At one point when both teams go up against Epoch the Time Lord, Batman asks the raygun-toting Grifter just how good he is. When Grifter brags that in his universe Batman would have been his kid sidekick, Batman then adds, "Then you won't mind doing this without the guns." Grifter pauses for a Beat, then quips, "Aw, why not? I'll try anything once!" The beginning of the crossover features an encounter with Epoch and Wally West while he was still Kid Flash, who sizes up his new foe's huge high-tech rifle by commenting, "One of the first things I've learned in the superhero game. 'Gun' equals 'bad guy'."
Batman: The Brave and the Bold used this as a plot point in the final episode. Bat-Mite is trying to get the series cancelled and Ambush Bug attempts to stop him, but Batman refuses to listen when Bug tells him that the world has been changed. That is, until Batman uses a pair of handguns to fight crime, which Bug points out is an insanelyOut-of-Character Moment; at this point Batman finally realizes that Bug is right and starts fighting back against Bat-Mite.
Jason Todd was taught how to use guns by Batman, while at the same time acknowledging Bruce's own aversion to guns. And even used a live gun, at least once, in order to escape, by forcing their assailants to take cover. In Batman: The Cult, Batman and Jason use rifles and machine-guns that fire tranquilizer darts that otherwise function nearly identically to normal firearms.
At another point, Jason Todd uses a shotgun to destroy a Commissioner Gordon Manhunter impersonator (no, really) and save Batman. He doesn't have much of a reaction to this besides "good work, Robin".
In Mike Mignola's "The Doom that came to Gotham", the Waynes are killed by knife, and Batman freely uses guns, though he never actually shoots anyone. He does have an aversion to knives, though.
One Batman related character, the Huntress, is willing to kill uses a crossbow and throwing knives to get the job down. Unlike most other examples, she doesn't avoid guns because she looks down on them, she's stated that she's just not very good with them.
In Watchmen, Nite Owl says that Rorschach didn't shoot Moloch because that way of killing someone is too ordinary. Presumably this is why Rorschach chose to improvise when he is cornered by the police instead of picking up the gun. The gun was also empty, and Rorschach only kills criminals; crazy as he is, he doesn't bear ill will against police officers, and only fights them at all in order to escape.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles notice on several occasions in the comics that they hate guns. At one point where they use some as a part of disguise Leonardo points out that he do not want any shooting and another of the turtles have already unloaded his gun. And in the Archie comic they think that lasers may be cool but also boring and too effective.
Raphael is the only one to break the rule twice in fact, the first time being in the Image series in which during the Bodycount series he guns down many gangsters and in a story in the Archie comics he used a laser gun to shoot a villain he survived though.
Actually, they do use guns on several occasions in the first volume of the Mirage comics, either laser guns or regular lead spewing ones. They don't intentionally bring guns to a fight, but they're perfectly willing to pick one up if the situation demands it.
Or it could just be that they can't use guns. Have you seen their hands? Two big fat fingers and one big fat thumb.
Nny from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac never kills with a gun (with only one exception, though that was for a murder-suicide). His stance on it is that they should only be used on oneself.
Bullseye doesn't like guns because they're boring. He'd much rather kill someone with a playing card, or a shuriken, or his own poop. Which isn't to say he'll never use them. During the "Guardian Devil" Daredevil arc, Bullseye admitted that Daredevil was "almost" his better, so he decided to subvert his principles and shot Daredevil. He also tried to kill Deadpool with a rocket launcher. It didn't work because...it's Deadpool.
Modesty Blaise's sidekick Willie Garvin. He's more likely to throw the gun, with deadly accuracy and force. His weapons of choice have also included short pieces of pipe, boomerangs, and large coins. He believes guns make people too sure of themselves.
Apparently that only applies to handguns - he frequently uses rifles and similar weapons, with as much skill as Modesty.
He also admits that he's a terrible shot with a handgun.
Detective-Judge Armitage, a Judge Dredd spin-off character. His general attitude is deconstruction of the Technical Pacifist: he absolutely refuses to carry or use a gun, but has no qualms about, for instance, broken bottles. However, it is stated that Detective-Judges don't carry firearms generally. There was a more recent story where Armitage did carry a gun on a raid.
This trope holds true for several of the heroes in Squadron Supreme, and leads them to ban and destroy all guns as part of their Utopia Project. The trope later causes a Heroic BSOD for one character when, in a panic, he grabs an automatic weapon and opens fire on a team of villains.
In the Italian comic book Diabolik, the eponymous Villain Protagonist never uses a gun. Not from having issues with killing (he'll immediately kill you if he thinks it's useful), but because their noise tend to give away the stealth element he always counts on and he's way better with knives.
Steve Rogers as Captain America averts this considering he originally did not have a problem carrying a pistol along with his original triangular shield. He drops the side arm later because he finds that his newer circular shield is so useful as a weapon that he decides that is typically the only one he needs most of the time.
Mr. X, formerly of the Thunderbolts, is an... interesting case. He doesn't like guns because he thinks they aren't personal enough; he's a peerless killer who forms an empathic bond with his victims, relishing the moment of their deaths, so up-close killing is extremely important to him.
Tintin frequently uses guns, but admits at one point that he's never entirely comfortable with the idea of handling one.
An early issue of the Buffy Season Eight comic book had this to say:
No Slayer carries a gun, ever. End of talk, good talk.
In the Doctor Strange mini-serial "The Oath," Doc tracks down a man who shot him (with a silver bullet, fired from the Walther P-38 that was Hitler's personal weapon) and later uses the gun himself. Once. And promptly dissolves it into fireflies.
Doctor Strange: Ghastly. Last time I touch one of these things..
Barbara Gordon doesn't like guns, which makes sense since she was shot by The Joker and was left paralyzed from the waist down in The Killing Joke. This event remains in her backstory post-Flashpoint, and it's left its mark on her, as seen in her current series. One of her first attempts to get back into the swing of things as Batgirl (her paralysis was treated with surgery overseas) goes poorly when Mirror pulls a gun on her (aiming at the exact same spot where the Joker shot her) and she freezes in fear.
There is a point in Batman: No Man's Land where she prepares to kill Black Mask with a sniper rifle to prevent him from attacking her clock tower, but Barbara's sometimes portrayed as more pragmatic than other members of the bat family.
In Gotham Adventures, a tie-in comic to the animated series, Barbara has no aversion to guns, given her police training and the lack of any event analogous to The Killing Joke; she simply doesn't use them as Batgirl to respect Batman's wishes. However, when the time comes to infiltrate the home base of the Sensei, one of the world's most lethal martial artists and the leader of the League of Assassins, she makes a point of holding onto a pistol. Batman isn't happy with this decision, but ultimately does nothing to stop her besides arguing.
Rapunzel:I was noticing how without guns in their hands, most folk around here turned pale. Made me realize I'd never seen Jack touch a gun except to throw it away.
Most Mobians, especially those under King Acorn, are seen with a dislike of guns in Sonic the Hedgehog, mostly due to a royal decree after one king's son was shot in an accident. This was a major sticking point with the Echidnas, as the Brotherhood of Guardians refused to help against the returned Dr. Robotnik because the Mobians refused to take up weapons of that sort.
Trailcutter has serious views on guns, and has somehow managed to go through a several million year long war without using them very often. But then, he's got his Magnawheels and his trusty forcefield. Later on he gets guns installed in his legs, like all the cool 'bots.
Obi-Wan Kenobi dislikes blasters, considering them synonymous with uncivilized aggression, preferring to use diplomacy and swordsmanship instead. As a Call Forward to his introduction to the lightsaber from the original trilogy, he discards Grievous' blaster after using it -to save his own life, no less- with a dismissive "so uncivilized."
Wong Fei Hong in Once Upon a Time in China starring Jet Li, however he doesn't even need a gun, since he can flick a bullet from his fingers into a person's head.
In The Rundown, the Rock's character shows a strong dislike of guns. One of the people in the film even comments, "I never met an American that didn't like guns." However, during the climactic gunfight, his Berserk Button is pushed when Travis is under fire and in need of help - deciding to put aside his disdain for firearms, he proceeds to open a can of lead whoopass on the enemies. For a person that doesn't like guns, he sure as hell is quite handy with 'em. In his earlier conversations, he implies that he used to use guns all the time, which wound up with him in debt to a crime boss in the first place.
Travis: Let me get this straight - you never use guns? Beck: No. Travis: Never. Beck: Never. Travis: What if your best friend was gonna die, you wouldn't pick up a gun? Beck: No guns. Travis: Santa Claus would pick up a gun to save his best friend. Beck: Do I look like Santa Claus? Travis: What do you say? Guns make you whooh-poco-loco? Bang-bang-crazy? Beck: I pick up guns, bad things happen to people. I don't like that. Travis: What kind of things? Beck: Very bad things, Travis. Walk. Travis: What about knives? Beck: Move.
Diary of the Dead. After giving one of their colleagues who's turning into a zombie the coupe-de-grace, The Professor hands the pistol over to someone else, saying it's too easy to use. Later however he picks up a bow saying that it "feels friendlier, somehow" (we later discover that he's a former member of the archery team at Eton).
Craig's father in Friday gives a Father and Son Talk to Craig about how guns symbolize a lack of strength and foresight, and reminisces about a time when problems would be solved with fists instead.
In Gangs of New York Bill the Butcher doesn't like to use guns when he fights, preferring to stick to meat cleavers and butcher's knives, because he follows a strict code of honor. His arch-rival Priest Vallon held the same belief, so when Bill's Natives faced off against Vallon's Dead Rabbits the fight included just about every weapon but guns. This also goes for later in the movie when young Amsterdam Vallon and the resurrected Dead Rabbits negotiate a duel with Bill's gang, and when agreeing on what weapons will be allowed, Amsterdam specifies that there will be no pistols, to which Bill replies "Good boy."
Parodied in MacGruber, where the main character insists that "he don't roll that way" without giving a good reason why he refuses guns in favor of pitifully MacGyvering up gadgets. When he's actually handed a gun, he learns that firing a gun is awesome but is terrible with it.
Jason Bourne, after the first film. Having declared his intention to give up killing people, he spends the next two films beating the living hell out of every enemy to cross his path but, despite killing three of them, never once fires a gun. He's even seen taking guns off opponents and then throwing them away a couple of times.
Blue Jones of Sucker Punch admits that he hates guns, and holds one by his fingers in disgust as he passes it to the Mook behind him. This is after he has murdered Blondie and Amber. He shot Blondie to death.
Averted in Kick-Ass where Big Daddy and Hit-Girl have no problems shooting people. Made extra delicious by the fact that Big Daddy looks a lot like another black-costumed superhero who is famous for hating guns, though his ideology is more akin to The Punisher.
Captain Nemo in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, when told to draw his gun, proudly states "I walk a different path" and proceeds to kick ass with Indian martial arts. He does use a pistol in the ending scenes of the film, but only because the enemies he's engaging are above him and out of melee range.
The Operative in Serenity carries a gun and is skilled in its use, but prefers martial arts and swordsmanship instead, considering them more honorable.
The Raid. Mad Dog instead of shoot Jaka, decides to beat him to death with his bare fists. And knees.
Mad Dog: I've never really liked using these. Takes away the rush. Squeezing a trigger is like ordering takeout.
A rare villainous example is Mr. Han from Enter the Dragon. Having set up his criminal empire on an island partially within Hong Kong's territorial waters (possession of firearms is a serious offense in Hong Kong), being a martial arts aficionado and having already been attacked by a gunman once explain his reluctance to let anyone near him with a gun.
Narrowly avoided in Rush Hour 2. The script called for Jackie Chan to accidentally catch a pistol during a climactic scuffle, only to immediately flip out and throw it away. Jackie pointed out that it was not only internally inconsistent for his character (a cop who previously had no problem using guns), but also extremely stupid of him to ditch a weapon when surrounded by hostile enemies.
The President's Analyst is initially intrigued at how a government agent patient can kill in an official capacity and thus relieve his hostilities - but is increasingly horrified at the casual gun violence he encounters. He emphatically states he's not a man of violence, and at movies' end when he and his spy friends have to shoot their way out of enemy headquarters, he pushes away an offered machine gun. Subverted minutes later when he's blasting away with a big grin growing on his face.
In the X-Men films, Magneto's younger self uses guns when he needs to, while the older Magneto sneers at them. This is partly because of his background as a holocaust survivor, and partly because humans rely on guns to fight, and he sees it as a sign of their inferiority. Of course, that's a bit hypocritical when he has the power of magnetism, and those who don't possess such an advantage have to defend themselves somehow.
In that trilogy, Bruce's aversion to guns is cast differently. While the comic book Batman essentially doesn't like guns because a gun was used to kill his parents, this Bruce Wayne was willing to shoot Chill and have vengeance until that was denied him. Later, after realizing what really killed his parents, Bruce's approach eschews guns because they represent that wrong minded mindset of vengeance he once had.
On the other side, the Joker in doesn't like them because they make things end too quickly, and prefers knives, so that he may savor the reactions of his victims. Of course, that doesn't stop him from using everything from shotguns to rocket launchers.
Quiller, from the Spy Fiction novels by Adam Hall, doesn't like guns for several reasons. They give him away as a spy, they cause overconfidence, and they're noisy. He prefers to rely on his martial arts skills.
He's occasionally referred contemptuously to gun-carrying adversaries as "gun-dependent," indicating that if you get the gun away from them they're psychologically paralyzed and helpless against you.
Odd Thomas hates guns, mainly because his mother frequently threatens suicide with one and also threatened to shoot him because he wouldn't stop crying while he was sick.
In The Destroyer books, assassins Remo Williams, and Chiun don't like guns. They consider them toys for amateurs. Compared to them, they are right.
Before he was trained in the basics of Sinanju, Remo would occasionally fall back on his old skills and grab a gun when the opportunity presented itself. Chiun would then punish him severely for it.
Doc Savage doesn't normally carry a gun (his reasoning is that anyone who carries a gun comes to depend on it and is thus less effective when disarmed). That doesn't stop him from using one when necessary (with the obligatory Improbable Aiming Skills).
Doc and his men do, however, utilize special "handguns" of Doc's own design which fire "mercy bullets" — special anesthetic capsules which conveniently put the bad guys to sleep without killing them.
Jay (Popinjay) Ackroyd of Wildcards hates guns. Of course when you can teleport people anywhere just by pointing at them that's not really an issue.
In The Saga of Darren Shan, the honor code of vampires and vampanezes forbids them to use guns (as well as pretty much any other projectile weapon, like bows); they feel that guns are for cowards. The problem is circumvented by hiring regular humans as soldiers.
The aversion is lampshaded in The Dresden Files, when Kincaid congratulates Harry for his unusual foresight in carrying a gun. In fact, this pragmatism is one of Dresden's advantages over his supernatural enemies, who will show (entirely warranted) caution where his magic is concerned, but neglect to protect themselves from things like bullets.
Alex Rider averts this, despite the publisher's best efforts. Anthony Horrowitz has said that the reason MI-5 never give Alex a gun is because the publishers got very nervous when he said that of course Alex was going to shoot people if he had one. However, Alex always moans about not being allowed one, and when he occasionally manages to find one somewhere he doesn't seem to have much issue with taking it.
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird used to be called "Ol' One Shot" and used to be the "deadest shot in Maycomb County in his time"...but his children don't even realize he knows how to fire one until he has to shoot and kill a rabid dog.
The dinosaurs from Anonymous Rex are like this, notably Ernie. They prefer to do their fighting hand-to-hand, since they're well equipped for that, and consider firearms unnatural.
In the Carl Hiaasen novel Stormy Weather, Ira Jackson, a mafia thug, doesn't carry guns, partly because it's a condition of his parole, but mostly he feels anyone who carries a gun gets shot with one sooner or later. Besides, he prefers the more personal touch of crucifying his victims.
Remo The Destroyer never uses a gun, not because he has any moral objections, but because his finely-tuned physical abilities make them useless in comparison with his fists.
The Wheel of Time plays with this trope when it comes to the Aiel; for a start, it gets transposed into a mediaeval fantasy setting, so it's swords they object to, not guns (which naturally don't exist). It's also played with insofar as they don't really know why they're not allowed to use swords any more, it's just their tradition. As their Chiefs find out during the Trials of Rhuidean, it's actually because they used to be dedicated to peace and forbidden to use any of weapons or violence at all; however, during the Breaking of the World, some of them realized they couldn't survive that way in such a world, but in an effort to retain some of the spirit of their old vows, restricted themselves only to weapons that could be used for purposes other than killing - hence spears can be used as a sort of fork, bows can be used for hunting, etc., but swords, which have no use other than killing, are no go. Needless to say, a lot of Aiel Go Mad from the Revelation when they find out the truth about their origins.
R.A Salvatore plays with this in many of his characters. Of them, Drizzt Do'Urden is probably the most opposed, as seen when he goes up against pirates armed with a smokepowder cannon in Passage to Dawn. The reasons stated were actual reasons for the opposition to firearms in the Middle Ages by Feudal Nobles. Of course, the fact that they can be mass-produced, require less training and can make it possible to field a massive army in a matter of months is beside the point. Paradoxically, he probably realizes this.
It's worth noting here that in the Forgotten Realms, gunpowder literally doesn't work by decree of Gond, god of craftsmen, again because it makes gaining great power too easy. "Smokepowder" is a quasi-magical substance produced in sharply limited amounts by the Gondian church, and is less safe.
John Taylor from Nightside doesn't use guns, because they make it very hard to resolve situations by saying "Sorry".
Also, he generally takes opponents down through trickery, dirty tricks or his special power. In his own word "I have never felt the need."
In Men at Arms, when the Gonne is invented, it's given to the Assassins' Guild for safekeeping because they would think it was too dangerous and inelegant a weapon to use. Though the Gonne is destroyed in the events of Men at Arms, later Discworld books continue the theme, as the Assassins don't like the "spring-gonnes" (heavily modified crossbows, though nothing as powerful as The Gonne) either. Anyone using it within the city limits would find its capacity to be concealed on the human body severely tested.
Repairman Jack is very competent with guns, and rarely is without one. However, in the book Hosts he stops a mass shooting (with his own gun) and later laments that he wishes he lived in a world without guns. He quickly admits that if there were only one gun in the world, he'd want to be the one to own it, and since guns are so common, he has no problem equipping himself with plenty of the best.
Michael on Burn Notice isn't above using guns, but he doesn't like them: "Don't fight your wars with guns. Guns make you stupid. Fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart".
In Doctor Who, the Doctor doesn't like guns. In the vast majority of stories he does not handle guns, even when they are available, and even on the odd occasion that the enemy is not Immune to Bullets. He does use a variety of super-science methods that usually turn out to be no less lethal. For example, he often uses his sonic screwdriver as a projectile weapon. When he does use a gun, it's usually to show that the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed or do something besides shoot directly at the enemy. At times the justification has been made that if you have a gun and an enemy, your inclination is to use the gun to kill your enemy, while he'd prefer to see if there's another way first. Examples and exceptions include:
In "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", after repeatedly telling UNIT to not open fire on the Sontarans and getting guns pointed at him, the Doctor finally gets fed up. When Luke Rattigan tries to hold him at gunpoint, the Doctor simply takes the gun out of Luke's hand and throws it away, (without breaking stride), muttering, "If I see one more gun...", "The people with the guns are usually the bad guys."
The Fourth Doctor does like guns, oddly. He blew away a Fendahleen with a shotgun in "Image of the Fendahl". (Loaded with rock salt, granted — but he didn't have any way of knowing the load had been changed, and it was still a lethal shot.) He also has no issues with blasting the giant rat in "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", saying several admiring things about the Chinese fowling piece he uses, calling it "the most fearsome piece of hand-artillery in all England" and pooh-poohing Litefoot's dire prediction that the gun would explode on firing, saying, "Explode? Unthinkable! It was made in Birmingham!"
The Seventh Doctor is perfectly willing to empty a clip of silver bullets into one of the nasties from "Battlefield". And from his reaction post-sucker punch, this isn't a plot to get Lethbridge-Stewart to take the job instead.
The very first thing the War Doctor is seen to do after first regenerating from the Eighth is to grab a gun and bullets.
The Ninth Doctor carries a gun in the episode "Dalek". Granted, he ended up not using it, and he was up against the enemy that he had a special, deep-rooted hatred for. In "The Parting of the Ways", an enraged Ninth Doctor brandishes a giant gun, but when a frightened underling throws up his hands and says "don't shoot!" the Doctor tosses the gun to the man and says "oh, don't be so thick. Like I was ever gonna shoot!"
The Tenth Doctor gets into an argument with Jenny in "The Doctor's Daughter" about how he won't use guns. She insists that the tools that he does use would still classify as weapons, so the distinction is arbitrary. In "The End of Time", the Doctor borrows Wilf's old service revolver when he realizes that the Time Lords are escaping the time lock but ultimately only uses it to destroy a machine. He does point it at others several times, though.
The Eleventh used a pistol in "The Time of Angels", though not to kill. He was surrounded by Weeping Angels on all sides and he used it to destroy the gravity bubble in the room to pull him and his friends up to the crashed ship Byzantium's artificial gravity.
Eleven also grabbed a gun and seemed briefly willing to kill Kahler-Jex in "A Town Called Mercy", admitting that many of the times he's shown mercy to his enemies have only allowed them to cause even more havok. Amy is able to talk him down, however, and the gun is never fired.
MacGyver doesn't like guns; the episode "Blood Brothers" explained that this was due to a childhood incident where he accidentally shot one of his friends. He has no problems with using them as impromptu tools, however (such as when he took a revolver, removed the bullet cylinder part and used the frame as a improvised wrench to close a needed valve), or as some sort of Rube Goldbergian "something to make a loud noise to distract the bad guys" device. However, at time his aversion bordered on the ridiculous: Once, to open a door that was locked, Mac dismantled a bullet, filled the keyhole with the gunpowder, inserted the blasting cap, then hit the cap with the butt of the gun, igniting the gunpowder and blowing up the lock. A solution that (as demonstrated on Mythbusters) was not only impractical but pointless, as that particular kind of lock was the kind that easily broke open when shot.
Parodied by RDA himself in an episode of The Simpsons when requesting a list of "common items" by which he could make his next daring escape from the clutches of Patty and Selma. These items included both a gun with no bullets...and bullets!
In one episode, MacGyver almost uses a pistol for its primary purpose. He pulls a pistol on a man who had murdered his friend, but someone snapped him out of it.
"These things? Never helpful." Guns can hurt vampires, but not kill them, whereas the Slayer is just as vulnerable to guns as any human. If vampires are given the idea to load up on guns fighting them would be much tougher.
However, she's perfectly alright with using crossbows, which are effective against vampires.
On the other hand, there was one case where a bazooka was rather useful in the Buffyverse. "What's that do?"
Of course the Slayer, not being bullet proof, has a vested interest in preventing gun play from breaking out. Spike nearly shoots her in "Fool for Love", but, finding Badass Decay has set in, is unable to go through with it.
In the episode "Angel", the vampire Darla takes out two pistols to hunt down Buffy and Angel. Of course, as she acknowledges, Angel will not die from being shot (also being a vampire), but it will still hurt like hell.
As of the end of Season Six, Buffy has a personal reason to hate guns - She was nearly killed with one in "Seeing Red" and her friend Tara actually was killed.
It's suggested Buffy and Slayers have a moral interest in not resorting to guns. The comics play with this idea.
Averted with Simone, a slayer gone bad who accuses Buffy of not letting other slayers use guns to keep them weak and inferior to her.
Wesley uses them all the time on the show Angel, and they are frequently effective. Vampires can't be killed with guns, but there are plenty of demons that can. Not to mention that Wesley is one of the few Buffyverse characters who's got no problem with killing evil humans, as well as demons.
In one story Gunn is horrified his old gang now uses guns, even though he spent years leading them in a guerrilla war against a vampire nest. This was before he found out they were the ones responsible for wiping out a number of friendly demons, which proved the weapons effective if nothing else.
The RPG comments about guns in the Buffy-verse: they're not too effective against vampires, your primary foes, and they make a lot of noise and leave a lot of evidence, making them sub-optimal in your secret war against the forces of evil.
In Season 8, the one time Buffy allows the other Slayers to arm up when the army is gunning for them she still refuses to use one herself.
In Season 9, Buffy is shot at with blanks during a failed bodyguard exercise. She's upset that her boss (Kennedy, who offered her the job) did that, even though Deepscan use guns as a matter of course.
Eliot Spencer in Leverage; he says it's because they are only useful within a certain range, thus not useful in his work as a "Retrieval Specialist".
When he is convinced that doing so is absolutely necessary to save his team and take down the Big Bad, he will use guns. Guns Akimbo, to be exact. And he's a One-Man Army.
Max in Dark Angel turns down the offer of a gun without explanation, immediately followed by a flashback of her sister Eva getting shot and killed early in Max's childhood (directly after stealing a gun — to make the guns=death message doubly clear).
The sisters of Charmed hate guns. Cole's argument of "But your powers are far more dangerous" goes unheeded.
Although only use in a fictional context, in an episode of The Famous Jett Jackson, a producer urges to include guns in the show within a show "Silverstone" to increase tension. Jett Jackson refuses in order to be a better role model to the viewers of the show.
As seen in the quote above from Mash, Hawkeye is opposed to using guns. At one point, Colonel Potter orders him to fire his pistol. In obedience to the order, Hawkeye fires the pistol into the air with no possibility of hitting a person.
Except, you know, when the bullet falls back to the ground and can randomly kill anyone unfortunate to be under it. As happens in Real Life when people randomly shoot into the air, and why such is illegal in many countries.
Potter himself is willing to use one, but he himself admits later that he's not good with it, and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. In fact, this holds true for most of the regular cast. Even the usually gung-ho Major Burns was hopeless when he actually tried to use one.
White Collar: Neal Caffrey. Doesn't stop him from being a crack shot; his dad was a cop.
Chuck Bartowski doesn't like guns to the point of bringing Nunchakus on his fist solo mission.
Of course, this doesn't stop Chuck from bringing tranquilizer guns on missions in lieu of actual guns with bullets.
He specially doesn't like killing, tranquilizers knock people out but not kill them, he really only kills in the heat of battles and even then most of the time he still prefers to knock them out then kill them.
Neither does Shaw (or so he claimed), which doesn't stop him from using a gun every chance he gets.
Katagiri Takuma in Boss. Became this after a bad experience.
Jake 2.0 Jake Foley doesn't like to use guns because he hates killing, preferring to use his super-strength to knock enemies out and capture them alive. In one episode, he goes up against a Yakuza assassin, whose martial arts easily overcome Jake's enhanced strength. Jake then undergoes a risky procedure to further increase his enhancements in order to defeat the assassin. This works. Unfortunately, the assassin escapes and tries to kill Foley. He has no choice but to pull a gun and shoot her.
On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo doesn't use or carry phasers for pragmatic reasons. As a security chief, his shape shifting abilities are more than enough to deal with most armed assailants on the station, especially since security measures automatically disable unauthorized energy weapons (except for when the plot decides otherwise). As energy weapons have being shown to be deadly to his people, not carrying one also prevents it from being stolen and used against him. Not to mention that carrying a phaser, like any other object, would impede his shapeshifting.
It's also for ethical reasons. Despite being a tough, no-nonsense cop character, Odo had a strong abhorrence of killing. In "The Adversary," he said, "I've never found it necessary to fire a weapon or take a life. I don't intend to start now." In "Playing God," he revealed that he didn't even step on ants.
On the episode "Penelope" of Criminal Minds, Morgan hands Garcia a gun to defend herself against the psycho heading inside to kill her.
Garcia: I don't believe in guns! Morgan: [shoves it in her hands] Trust me, they are very real!
Harrison Blackwood from War of the Worlds refuses to even so much handle a gun. He doesn't seem to be opposed to violence in general (once fashioning an impromptu flamethrower to use against the aliens), but often turns down the offer to possess one, no matter the level of danger he could facing. Of course, this was a characteristic of Blackwood in Season 1. Then came Season 2...
Hershel Green of The Walking Dead has stated that he knows how to shoot but really doesn't like to. Despite this though he has considerable aim even in a low light situation with an unfamiliar firearm.
A few characters in Bonanza. Notable was one Villain of the Week, a JerkassBlood Knight boxer who liked to bully people around and beat them senseless. He nonetheless had a disdain for firearms, refusing to carry one. When a woman pulls a gun on him in an attempt to defend herself, he snarls, "Why do you people always resort to guns?" and knocks her out before she can react.
In an episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Roxton fights a ninja, and is getting his ass handed to him. When he tries to draw his gun, the ninja knocks it away and says, "Guns are a coward's weapon."
In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Send In The Clones", Xena and Gabrielle are cloned in the present day. After escaping the lab, Xena defeats a policeman and takes his gun. After trying it out, she dismissively throws it away and forges a sword instead.
Columbo: Lieutenant Columbo dislikes guns and is a notoriously bad shot. He appears to get other cops to take his shooting qualifications ("Forgotten Lady"). He'll carry a gun when the situation absolutely calls for it, but even then... He probably doesn't have great depth-perception anyway, considering his glass eye. He seems to have no problem brandishing one on Mo Weinberg in "Undercover" though, but Weinberg does try to shoot him.
The pilot of Person of Interest has an exchange between Reese and Finch where Finch says he's not fond of firearms. Reese, a former Army Ranger and ex-CIA covert operative, agrees that he doesn't either, but "My philosophy is, if someone has to have them, I'd rather it was me." Later in the episode Reese tells Dirty Cop Lionel Fusco that he doesn't like killing people but he's very good at it.
In Warhammer, Bretonnian knights live by an all-encompassing code of chivalry that disdains missile weapons of all kinds as base, cowardly and ignoble. None of them would dream of using a bow, crossbow or handgun himself, but most are tactically savvy enough to let their peasant retainers bring longbows and trebuchets to battle for support. Some, however, take the knightly disdain for such weapons to extreme heights of religious hatred for enemy missile troops, which is represented in the game by allowing Bretonnian knightly characters to buy this as a virtue. It does however transfer to all ranged weapons and not only guns. The basic code of conduct for Bretonnian knights in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay includes a ban on gunpowder weapons. In fact, none of the knight careers grant proficiency in them. The knightly virtue in question only adds a ban on all ranged weapons on top of it.
In In Nomine, the Archangel David hates all ranged weapons (including guns) because he feels they separate a person from the reality of what they're doing. His angels use melee attacks only.
Vergil in Devil May Cry thinks Guns Are Worthless and, in the universe of Devil May Cry, he might just be right: his magical throwable swords do a lot more damage than most of his brother's guns. Still, near the end he picks up one of his brother's pistols, stating that he'll "try things your way for once" as he and Dante pull of a Combination Finishing Move. Bear in mind that Dante's pistols, while they may take longer, can kill any enemy in the game. Including Vergil. They're usually the way to kill things that won't carry a high risk of you getting swiped by a cheap shot.
In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, the epoynomous Stranger doesn't care for guns — instead, he uses a double-barreled crossbow that shoots insects and small animals. Heck, it's the first thing he says in the game!
Stranger: (holding an Outlaw's rifle) ...never liked guns. (snaps it in two)
Cloud states that Sephiroth "wouldn't use a gun." The reason for this is most likely arrogance, as Sephiroth goes out of his way to use a six-foot-long katana just because no-one else can. Sephiroth cuts through skyscrapers with ease using said ridiculously long katana (officially it's 2.5 meters/8 feet long)... one handed... He also fires energy beams, uses all kinds of game breaking magic, and is stated by Word of God to be the single most powerful being in the FFVII universe... A gun would be a DOWNGRADE.
Not to mention that guns are particularly worthless in that universe, and not just in gameplay: In Advent Children, Cloud takes a bullet at point blank to his forehead and all it does is break his sunglasses and leave a scar — although fanon has it that the shot was never intended to kill in the first place. That, or he has really tough sunglasses.
Subverted in Crisis Core, where Zack apparently has no issues about using a sniper rifle to eliminate some robotic enemies.
Not to mention Barret and Vincent, who are perfectly happy to show what they can do with prosthetic gun arms and pistols, respectively.
Bayman from Dead or Alive is seen with a gun on his hip. The Fridge Logic comes when you realize "why doesn't he just shoot them?". However the Fridge Brilliance comes later when you realize that a twenty story fall after being knocked through a plate glass window, though a array of neon lights does about the same amount of damage as a few solid punches. Bullets would be a downgrade. Besides, weapons aren't allowed in fighting tournaments.
Justified in inFAMOUS when Cole can't use guns because the ammunition will explode if he touches them. Zeke found the first try to be hilarious.
Faith in Mirror's Edge really hates guns, as her parents were shot dead during protests. The game rewards you for not using them.
Kazuma Kiryu, from Yakuza, doesn't care much for guns, preferring to settle matters with a good ol' fashion beatdown. In the Gaiden GameDead Souls, he reluctantly takes up arms against the Zombie Apocalypse when it becomes clear that punching them won't work.
Detective Gumshoe briefly mentions that he doesn't like guns, and only uses his in emergencies, because he finds them dangerous.
Although it's never said outright, or really shown outright, Edgeworth himself always acts rather causally around guns, often commenting on how easy it is to take someone's life with just a pull of a trigger. This is completely justified given that for 15 years he thought he had accidentally shot and killed his own father while he was only 9.
A narrator in one of the exposition pages for Finders Keepers says most magic folk prefer not to use guns specifically because it's actually safer that way. Magical creatures on the other side of the void are more likely to attack a gun-wielder on sight simply because of how dangerous the weapon is, as compared to, say, a sword.
During the Nanobots arc of Sluggy Freelance, Dr. Schlock ran out at a critical moment in a rescue mission. Bun-bun dispatched Sam the Vampire (the Sampire!) to retrieve him, and gave him a gun. Sam's response: "Sam doesn't do guns." Bun-Bun made him take it anyway, which was fortunate, as Schlock had decked himself out in crosses and holy water. Sam proceeded to shoot Schlock in the leg, forcing him to give Sam permission to enter.
Knightblade from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe not only dislikes guns, he goes out of his way to hunt down gun-traffickers, and tends to permanently cripple criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime. Stone hates them as well, which is ironic because he's a Flying Brick and just bulletproof as that implies.
In The Venture Bros.. Brock Samson doesn't seem to be a huge fan of 'em, going so far as to outright refuse to even touch one during his OSI exam. He likes knives better because they're more personal and gory.
After a Very Special Episode of Gargoyles where Broadway almost kills Elisa by accidentally shooting her with her own gun, he can't stand guns and will destroy any he gets his hands on. In an interesting case, his hatred of them stems from his own guilt rather than the weapon itself; Goliath obliquely mentions in the first episode that the gargs obviously don't have problems killing invaders (like the Vikings) if they can't avoid it. Broadway will, however, leave guns be in the hands of responsible people like Elisa — he only destroys those their enemies (usually petty criminals) are using because they use them to hurt people. The moral of the episode wasn't "guns are bad", it was "guns need to be handled responsibly", something both Broadway and Elisa agree upon at episode's end, and Elisa always locks her gun away from that point on, to emphasise not leaving it around where someone who is irresponsible or ill-intentioned can reach it.
An amusing scene in the American Street Fighter animated series had Guile given a license to acquire weapons. Being a manly man, he crushes it in his fist and declares "Guns are for wimps!" Just a reminder, Guile is in the U.S. Army. Other depictions of him never show him hating guns, though since the series is all about hand-to-hand combat, it's more of a Hand Wave than anything else. Then again, per the rules for the Street Fighter RPG (and mentioned in the infamous Murphy's Rules column), Guile doesn't know HOW to use the things.
As mentioned above, Batman (from Batman: The Animated Series) hates guns, and goes into retirement after being forced to use one as a last resort. Bruce Wayne, though, is seen in one episode participating in target shooting. Well, he does have to keep those Grapple-Gun skills sharp.
There's a very interesting Justice League episode, "Dead Reckoning", in which Deadman possesses Batman and kills Devil Ray with a gun (in a split second reaction to save Wonder Woman's life). Batman is visibly disgusted afterwards at having any part in killing someone with a gun, even to save a friend.
It's subverted in an episode taking place in an altered timeline — a resistance fighter Batman grabs a gun and points it at the League, thoroughly convincing them that something has changed the timeline.
Subverted on Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures. Johnny and Jessie have cornered a bad guy who drops his gun. The villain worries for a moment that Jonny will pick up the gun and use it, but Jonny tells him that he doesn't like guns. The villain smirks...for a second, until Jessie points the gun at his head, saying "I, on the other hand, don't have a problem with them."
Virgil in Static Shock; His mother was shot and killed while on her job as a paramedic during a city wide riot. And to make things worse, his best friend Richie was once shot in the leg by accident.
In Babar, none of the animals like or use guns (for obvious reasons), including the rhinos.
Actor Christopher Walken has an intense hatred of handguns, so much that he doesn't even like holding them.
This is part of why it was hard to get Sigourney Weaver back for Alien³. After finishing Aliens, she'd joined Handgun Control, and was not thrilled with the emphasis on weaponry in the third film script. In the final script, there are no firearms.
Legendary Hawaiian police officer Chang Apana never carried a gun, but managed to be quite the Badass anyway.
Roger Moore doesn't like handling firearms. When he was 14, his brother accidentally shot him in the leg. In his James Bond films, he used a stunt double most of the time Bond used a gun.
Heavy Metal lyrics tend to glorify battle that doesn't use guns, but criticize the state of modern war.
Edward G. Robinson also hated guns. That was a problem early in his career, since he was often typecast as a gangster. During production of Little Caesar, Robinson's eyelids had to be taped open so he wouldn't flinch when he fired his weapon.
Britain in general seems to dislike guns - for instance, it has one of the strictest regimes of gun control in the world, with handguns being illegal for private citizens and shotguns and rifles regulated to almost the same degree. Similarly, it is a point of great pride for many British people that Britain is the only industrial country of its size which does not regularly arm its police force, and, even when members of the police are killed by armed crooks (something which is noticeably rare) both police and public are overwhelmingly against equipping bobbies on the beat with guns. Even criminals seem to prefer knives.
Like Britain, Japan is an extremely anti-gun country. By law, the only people that can carry handguns are the police, JSDF members on base, and bodyguards for state officials. Rifles can be obtained for hunting, but the red tape one has to go through in order to do so is a mile long, and most Japanese don't hunt anyway. The Yakuza are known for also possessing guns, but gun-related deaths in Japan are among the lowest in the world (even when including police firing on criminals). However, this can be attributed less to the lack of guns (there's still knife attacks after all), but more on the fact that Japanese society puts extreme pressure on people to preserve social order.
Japanese aversion to firearms goes back several centuries, owing largely to the laws and cultural norms established and enforced during the Tokugawa Shogunate. (Roughly 1600-1860) that not only severely restricted possession of firearms, but also culturally denigrated guns as dishonorable weapons unworthy of the Samurai. The real reason probably had more to do with managing potential threats against the state and the social order, though, as the introduction of the musketry revolutionized Japanese warfare in the Senkoku period, by allowing mere peasants to cut down noble warriors.
Strict gun control laws in People's Republic of China was one of clues that alerted those who knew about China that something was amiss with Mike Daisey's story on This American Life about factories manufacturing Apple products in Chinese cities. The story referred to private security guards with guns, something that would never be allowed in a country where only agents of government on duty may carry guns. The story was eventually retracted with a public apology.