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Does society need guns for peace? How can humanity transcend violence?

In his TED Talk (attached) Peter Van Uhm argues that "sometimes only the gun can stand between good and evil… The gun may be the most important instrument of peace and stability that we have in this world."

Is his thesis sound? Does society need guns? Can we feasibly rid society of violence? Are guns and other forms of weapons necessary for an orderly society? Given recent outbreaks of violent large scale massacres and terrorists attacks how should governing authorities approach gun and weapon control?

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  • Nov 2 2012: "Does society need guns for peace?"

    If no one could make guns then the peace could be kept with swords and bows, in a world where people do know how to make guns the peace can be kept by a small armed minority, the bulk of the citizens don't need guns to keep peace and freedom, as many European countries have proven. The most important factors in keeping the peace are civil and economic equality: when people see that they have the same opportunities as their neighbors society tends to be peaceful, even so, some authority would still need to be armed to combat psychotic criminals and force would be cheaters (like vulture capitalists) to play fair.

    Having said that, once you do give weapons to untrained citizens you let a genie out of the bottle that is very hard to put back in.
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      Nov 4 2012: Meritocracy is the answer. I like it! It all goes back to advancing culture and human relationships as a solution.

      Not that I necessarily agree with this, but some studies have shown the rise in some violent crimes (armed robberies for example) with increased gun control in Europe. The argument is that criminals are more likely to engage in this activity if they know citizens are less likely to be armed. Thoughts?

      Another common argument is that citizens should have the right to bear arms to protect themselves against their very own governing bodies. This seems a bit more whimsical as doubt a personal weapon will help much against the armies of advanced societies.
      • Nov 5 2012: "Not that I necessarily agree with this, but some studies have shown the rise in some violent crimes (armed robberies for example) with increased gun control in Europe. The argument is that criminals are more likely to engage in this activity if they know citizens are less likely to be armed. Thoughts?"

        There has been an increase in crimes in Europe in the 1990s and early 2000s but it has been halted without giving guns to citizens and the crime rates are still lower than in the United States, also crimes are less violent than similar crimes in the US, a European burglary seldomly results in injuries and most burglars will flee rather than shoot you (the big fallacy people in the US make is that they think that just because they are armed they will automatically win a shootout with a burglar and survive unscathed). On a side note, many European countries allow citizens to keep hand guns at home but only after training (either in the military/law enforcement or on firing ranges), most Europeans could have a hand gun if they wanted to, they just have to train at a firing range first, but they choose not to, that's something you'll never hear the NRA admit.

        "This seems a bit more whimsical as doubt a personal weapon will help much against the armies of advanced societies."

        I agree, if people are afraid of the government they should seek to reduce the size of the military, that would be far more effective than going up against a tank with a shotgun. In any case, soldiers are not robots, they are your friends, family and neighbors, if you don't trust them not to kill you as soon as some evil dictator tells them to then you must be very paranoid and not enjoy life very much.
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      Nov 7 2012: If you wouldn't mind answering me a dumb question... Is it actually illegal to hunt in Europe? I'm not a huge fan of this argument, but many men will tell you that actually stalking and kiling an animal connects them to a primal part of the human experience, in a way nothing else does...

      What about people who live where they have to worry about bears? Are they supposed to stab bears in the face? Is there no where left in Europe that isn't a city? Actually making guns illegal, in any large nation, has always struck me as insane.
      • Nov 7 2012: Hunting (which can be done perfectly well using bows instead of guns) is not illegal in most European countries, just strictly regulated and there are of course species that you are not allowed to kill, just like in the US. Hunting is not very popular in Europe, but it does depend on the country and region you're in. The biggest difference between American and European authorities on the subject of hunting is that the latter won't let you buy an AK-47 under the guise of "hunting equipment".

        @below

        Yes, that's a big misconception Americans have about Europe: people are allowed to own handguns and hunting rifles over here, you just have to clear a background check and prove that you can handle a weapon (training in the military or law enforcement or prolonged, 1 year in my country, membership of a shooting range). You can't carry a gun on the streets though. In any case most people simply choose not to own firearms.
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          Nov 7 2012: Okay, I thought that was the case, just wasn't sure. I'm not a fan of guns... but I have always thought that having a simple rifle or revolver, for dealing with animal attacks or hunting, in rural areas, just seemed like common sense. I've even thought I would want the right to own a gun, if I was more than 10 miles from a police station... It's just not a major issue for me.

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