First off, if this question has been asked elsewhere, I apologize. A search turned up nothing but this, which does not have the answer I seek.
I'm curious as to why when Europeans started coming over to North America, they had guns, ships, plus all manner of then-modern innovations, while the Native Americans had bows and arrows. Why didn't the Americas experience the same level of technological innovation that Europe did? What prevented the Native peoples from developing their own equivalents of the gun, for example?
What prevented Native Americans from being on par technologically with the Europeans when they reached North America?
The only time period I'm really defining is from the days of Columbus through the Western expansion. Consistently throughout that time period, Native Americans used primitive technology or 'borrowed' from the Europeans, while the Europeans - for the 300-ish years in question - continued to invent new technology to add to their already superior collection. What stopped the Native Americans from doing this?