on the subject of self-defense. This article by Joyce Lee Malcolm covers it.
Check this out:
"The practical removal of the right to self defence began with Britain's 1920 Firearms Act, the first serious limitation on privately-owned firearms. It was motivated by fear of a Bolshevik-type revolution rather than concerns about householders defending themselves against robbers. Anyone wanting to keep a firearm had to get a certificate from his local police chief certifying that he was a suitable person to own a weapon and had a good reason to have it. The definition of "good reason", left to the police, was gradually narrowed until, in 1969, the Home Office decided "it should never be necessary for anyone to possess a firearm for the protection of his house or person". Since these guidelines were classified until 1989, there was no opportunity for public debate."
The guidelines were "classified", so the public couldn't know them, and since the police could change them at any time...
Note: this is one of the reasons that making law should NEVER be left to the bureaucrats; they're unaccountable and will screw you over in a hearbeat.