Just a quick observation. In the US the people are afraid of the government; in France the government is afraid of the people.
Citizens don't need to own firearms to make their government fear them. It just takes united demands, constant political pressure, and some strong unions here and there. While I understand the argument that unionized workers see themselves as union members first and company employees second, look at the victories they have won for workers in France, including workers who aren't unionized. Here's the latest example.