Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Jake Richardson8
Guns For Bikes Exchange In Uruguay
Recently in the press there has been quite a focus on guns and their impact on society, including the potential public policy implications. Coinciding with the extra press have been some efforts to reduce their numbers, such as a guns for cash exchange in Marin County near San Francisco, which effectively sold out in about an hour and collected 827 guns.
This type of gun exchange is not new, but it could be argued the interest in reducing the number of guns in society is gaining traction. For example, an exchange in Uruguay called Weapons for Life offers either a bicycle or laptop computer when a gun is turned in to government officials. The point of the disarmament campaign in Uruguay is the same as those in the United States: to make society less violent and more harmonious.
Bikes are a very energy-efficient mode of transportation. They are good for fitness, and therefore for obesity reduction. Physical exercise is also both a stress reducer and mood enhancer.
Additionally, cycling can be a social experience because whole groups of people can cycle together and meet each other in social contexts such as at an outdoor shopping center or at a cafe. Socializing and social connections tend to be very helpful in maintaining mental health because they are a big part of the social support network that benefits people when they are in need. Furthermore, cycling contributes to local economies. A research study found cycling-related industry contributed about $90 million a year to the overall economy of the city of Portland.
So though it may seem fairly inconsequential to exchange guns for bikes, it truly is not such a small matter to get more bikes on the roads and more guns off the streets. In Uruguay there are an estimated 500,000 unlawfully owned guns. The total human population is just about 3.3 million. There is also potentially an emotional burden created by gun violence. “Studies have documented that young people exposed to gun violence experience lasting emotional scars. ” (Source: FutureofChildren.org)