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Ok, speaking as a Democratic Socialist AND a Britton:

The UK is a very strange bird, and each "f'ed up" law has grounds in serious wars that have taken place in their streets up until a few years ago. Gun laws are a constant sore spot as well as the application of what is considered the most educated yet the most poorly managed police force in the world. England is NOT a Socialist country first off: It's a Democratic Monarchy that currently has alot of influence from the Labour party, which is strongly Democratic Socialist bent. This does NOT mean the majority are anti-gun. In fact, one of the most sucessful Democratic Socialist countries in Northern Europe has some of the most liberal gun ownership laws in the world equal to what the US has (Norway and Finland).

Alot of the gun ownership laws are a holdover from the turn of the century, when wars between militant factions within the country were so severe, they were exploited by both the Kaiser and the Nazis in both world wars. In order to stem the flood of violence after the war and during the reconstruction period of WWI, severe gun bans were put into effect in order to turn the screws on groups such as the Ulster Front and Sein Fein. Combine this with a rash of gang violence that was so severe it almost matched the Roaring 20's ganland wars in the US and then the first round of Islamic Fundamentalist attacks in the UK in the 70's and 80's, and on top of THAT the renewed fighting of the IRA against the English occupation stemming from "Tax-free" land and buisness grants by the Conservative-led Thacher government in Northern Ireland, and you see why the country on the whole is worried about gun control. Never has one country been so close to absolute war every 5 years than the UK. It's a concept of fear and tension that NO ONE in America can understand: How a country so "Western" is actually as unstable as most African nations.

When you view the country's history of political violence and the impression of being one of the few sole nations that resisted Nazi occupation, the entire population on the whole has been "turned off" from firearms for over 100 years. It's a group desensitization. After a while, there becomes so little that can be done other than to start with a clean slate. This is the theory and practice that many in the UK have taken in their approach to gun control.

Not everyone is happy about this: The Police struggle with the application of lethal force on a population that is unarmed, yet when the police DO encounter an incident with a firearm, it is RARELY with just a pistol or shotgun, but with illegal high-power assualt rifles (REAL assualt rifles, not the media grabbing term "Assualt rifle") and against organized crime foot soldiers, not just random thugs. It's a curse of extremes for the police, and the effort to find a medium is a hard one.

On the other hand is the population, who aside from gun control enjoy some of the most liberal of freedoms offered in Europe with freedom of speech regarded by nearly every citizen as the paramount reason they're "different" from the rest of the world. But, at the same time, they see their own violent history, the fall of countries left and right within their own view (even Belgium has faced the threat of a dissolved government within the past year!), and constant threats of loss of government identity with the European Union not being welcomed by all in the country. The more the people see destabilization, the more they push for anything to keep from facing the same fate. Independent, yet connected ecconomies with their own currency, CCD camera networks to constantly monitor everything, insistence on maintaining independent industry but only in key areas where the UK can maintain supremacy yet willing to outsource industry that can save the country the most on resources and finances. It all keeps to maintaining the "English" way of life.

It comes down to fear and addressing an issue that the entire world is dealing with, but at the same time is seen as a problem that must be dealt with in a civil way...a British way.

It's a hardcore approach, and not one that everyone even within their own corner of the world agrees with, but they are insistent on seeing it through. The parts that destroy such an "experiment" are the lawyers...the same lawyers that are tearing countries like the US, France and Canada apart. Litigate where there is money and soon you cannot eat a sandwich hot because someone made millions of pounds off of their tounge being burned by someone who MIGHT of had a racial motive in an oven that MIGHT of been defective.
 

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It scares me that I find myself agreeing more and more with what Neo says. Quick! Someone slap me!!!! :)
I just post it from the way I've lived for 16 years of my life. Alot of times we see things from one perspective but we forget: Not everyone is wired the same way, and if there are THAT many people who are willing to do something no matter how much irritation it is to both the people AND the government, there must be a driving force why they try so hard.

The difference is that the jury is still out on if this experiment is going to work, and we as a people know this. THIS is why it's such a tense time. There's too much temptation to go either way: Totalitarian government or open weapons ownership.... and there are many countries on both sides of that arguement that will tell them that it's ok to go that way.
 
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