I think you misunderstood me, or perhaps I have misunderstood the descriptions of the current gun control situation in Australia.
I realize some of the posters in this thread are from the UK and some from Australia. It is my understanding that the UK is even more restrictive on firearms than Australia is in some respects. It is also my understanding that there are waiting and training requirements for the "permit to acquire" a firearm in Australia, as well as limitations on the types of firearms that can be owned (no snubnosed revolvers or standard capacity semi-autos, etc.) and requirements for the "safe" storage of Australian firearms including an actual in-home inspection by the authorities.
Much of my understanding is based on the experiences of a forum member as he worked to acquire a semi-auto, center fire pistol for target practice. That member was located in a fairly urban area; that may make a difference
. This guy also seemed to be of the opinion that using the firearm for his self-defense would be akin to something like kicking a policeman in the balls with steel-toed boots on, not good for one's love of fresh air. He explained, if I recall correctly, that he had to join a shooting range club for a period of months before he could even apply to acquire a firearm. His description of the requirement for and inspection of a firearms storage safe made me cringe. Perhaps he exaggerated, or I misunderstood his description of the situation.
I guess it is all relative. When I was six years old, I received my first rifle for Christmas. It was purchased by my father for me from a family friend; it had been well used and maintained for many years and was a youth model .22LR bolt-action. It wasn't "registered" to anybody. There was no permit involved that I am aware of. It is in my gun safe now. My gun safe hasn't been inspected by any authorities, wasn't required by any law, and seemed a bit excessive to me when I got it. I own a few firearms that wouldn't be permitted for me in Australia, as I understand it, at least with their standard magazines (XD45, cz-75b, bersa thunder ucp9, SKS rifle). Some of my firearms were purchased without any paperwork from individuals in a used condition, which is legal here. To me, living in a very unrestricted state, the requirements of Australia seem to be too much governmental control. Don't be offended that I find your government overly restrictive, as you personally probably have very little control over what your government does (much like us).
The Vietnam veteran I mentioned had a good opinion of the Australians he met in Vietnam (badass = tough fighter). I was surprised at the tolerance of their countrymen for such controls.
Australia, from the pictures and descriptions available to me, is a beautiful place. It is not a place I plan to visit, but neither is the UK; nothing against them, just not my kind of place.
We were able before 1996 to walk into any gun shop and hand over the cash and walk out with just about any gun we wanted ,semi auto's etc but then after Port Arthur(Tasmania) massacre in 1996 and the then PM(John Howard) who hated guns got into action and a heap of restrictive laws came into being that did nothing to curb gun related crime as statistics show that gun crime was already falling but as a vote grabbing little weasel who wanted to be seen to be doing something he bullied the stupid laws through.
There were and still are conspiracy theories abounding that this was a govt. backed massacre to get Howard's laws through as about 12 months before hand a politician or somebody like Police Commissioner said that nothing short of a massacre would get gun laws changed and then Port Arthur happened.
So now we've got our own "JFK shooter on the knoll" type conspiracy theory thing as well. Hard to prove but there's certain bits of info around that make you think it may be possible.
When I was a kid I could ride through town with my BSA Meteor Super air rifle over my shoulder and nobody would say a thing do it now and you'd have a SWAT team on your arse in 20 seconds because now the media and anti crowd have whipped the sheeple(people who are led like sheep by the media and govt.) into a mass hysteria about guns and how those that own them are red necked mass murderers in the making.
When I reply to the papers about who actually owns guns that people don't realise things go quiet as I say that people like doctors, lawyers, policemen,tradies, housewives,bankers people who are generally in charge of your money and lives are also gun owners.
So then it goes on for me to say that those of you accusing me of being a redneck mass murderer in the making are also accusing your next door neighbour,policeman,banker,doctor, lawyer etc of also being the same thing and that seems to get the sound of crickets chirping.
The toys you Yanks can play with makes we Aussies jealous of what you lot have but unlike the USA Australia has never had a civil war or had to kick a foreign country out of Australia.
We have gun safe inspections and a firearms registry both a big WOFTAM and take up police resources and time checking that guns are safely secured and the safe is acceptable but back before 1996 you could leave your guns under the bed if you wanted to.
We were originally a penal colony with the POMS sending the worst of their crims out here as a prison and we developed from there.
We're a reasonably laid back bunch of people probably a bit apathetic at times but we'll fight hard,play sport and party hard and drink just as well as the next bloke and giving people a fair go is part of our culture as well but our politicians have some of the worst cases of jelly back spines in the world requiring a coat hanger to help them stand up properly.
I know what your getting at liberty wise and while we are certainly restricted in some things we're still a lot better off than other country's who are lucky to be able to have a picture of a gun little less own 1.
Mate I'd like to visit the USA just so as I can see how we Aussies can improve the place before we show you lot how to run a b-b-que and brew beer properly and how a pub should be run.