The situation in Canada - which would probably best mirror the US environment, but with government control:
To own a gun you would need and FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate). You have to take a mandated Firearms Safety Course. IIRC you need to be 18 or have your guardian take responsibility for you and the firearms. The responsible adult must be around when a minor has/uses a firearm. The course is a day or two, usually offered on a weekend.
To own a pistol, you must be a member of a firing range/gun club. When transporting the pistol, it must be going directly to/from range. Detours to go shopping, etc. not allowed.
All guns must be stored unloaded in approved locked cabinets (IIRC steel cabinet is a requirement). If your kid is playing with a gun and draws the attention of authorities (typical “accidents”), you WILL be charged with improper storage of a firearm.
The conservative government promised to abolish the “long gun registry” and is in the process of using a private members’ bill to accomplish this. Politics - because on a private members’ bill the other parties can vote their conscience (ain’t democracy great) instead of toeing the party line.
The usual political divisions don’t apply so the rural MPs of other parties are likely to vote against the registry even though their parties, being urban progressive-based, want stricter controls.
Rural people here, like the USA obviously appreciate the utility of weapons against wildlife and enjoy hunting, while most modern urban sophisticates have the “redneck in a pickup” or “gangsta” image of someone who owns guns. Big cities are especially hostile to gun ownership, and with the plethora of smuggled american weapons, the cities are getting dangerous.
Hunting too has limitations. Usually - You cannot fire from a motorized boat/vehicle, you cannot fire within 500 feet (IIRC) of a road, you cannot carry a loaded weapon in the vehicle, most cities have “no shooting inside city limits” rules. There are also serious safety controls for firing ranges. If you are treaty Indian, you can (usually) shoot almost anything that moves…
IIRC, along with the long gun registry came several interesting restrictions. Everyone in the house needs training or something like it.
Weapons sellers need to verify the FAC of anyone they sell to.
many people say it’s not worth it to pass on your weapons to your children now, unless they’ve been active in the lifestyle too. The general feeling is that when an older owner dies, it’s simpler to turn in the weapons to the police.
The authorities like that. They have a general hositility to the average public defending themselves, because it often results in more problems than it solves. Remember, for self-defence with lethal force you must be in corresponding danger. You cannot simply shoot someone because they are an intruder.
Most restrictions are in response to various notable crimes.
After an episode in Ottawa where some underage teens were firing out the window of their car randomly, you need an FAC to buy ammunition too. (What bureacratic Bozo overlooked that in the original law?)
Stupidity in action - members of the military, even gun instructors, must take the FAC course because there is no recognition for the military training. Sort of like the TSA screening Colin Powell going through the airport…
Mark Lepine in Montreal, with no documented history of mental illness, took a legally acquired firearm into Ecole Polytechnique and went through the classrooms, ordered all the men out of the room and shot all the women before killing himself. Since then, magazines bigger than 5 rounds are banned; so in Canada, triathlon participants must reload halfway through their rounds. (The authorities could find anything else to pick on; it was a .22 not an assualt rifle, legally acquired, no indicator the guy was unstable).
Any domestic turmoil - reports of abuse from spouse, divorce proceedings, etc. will probably hold up any FAC approval indefinitely, as will prior convictions. A decade or so ago, a fellow got a pistol legally and shot his ex-wife and 9 members of her family. The police said he got the FAC and pistol because the wife had complained of abuse, but when pressed to file a formal complaint, she declined.
We see more and more crimes where people are killed for their guns, especially urban enthusiasts with pistols. Making guns hard to get has simply raised the street value so there is an incentive to go after them. The lock-down requirements mean there’s a good chance the person you are stealing from won’t have time to get armed, although most are sneak-theivery.
The Gun Control Debate:
-The basic problem is that about 85% of crimes are committed with unregistered weapons. The other 15% are those unpredictable murder-suicides. (“He wa such a quiet and polite fellow…”) Crooks don’t register guns.
-what good is a gun registry for long guns? You can’t rely on it. (See above point) so even if no weapons are registered, police going to a house have to assume the worst.
-very few crimes are committed with long guns. Those that are, are sawed off, and probably illegally acquired anyway (see first point).
-the border with the USA, despite cooperation with Homeland Security, is very porous and lots of illegal guns cross. The best thing Canada could do is sponsor US gun control laws.
-the long gun registry was a complete waste of money, and encouraged the paranoid among us to become criminals - because all the usual “cold dead hands” proapganda about commies flies around up here too.
So basically, if you are stable and with a stable home life and willing to jump through all the hoops and follow and remember rules, you can buy a gun or 10, but what you can do with them is limited. Pistols are especially difficult but not impossible. All (legal) pistols ARE registered and nobody disputes that.
(IIRC, the difference is in UK it is impossible for the average Joe to own a pistol.)