Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Jake Richardson


Guns For Bikes Exchange In Uruguay

February 11th, 2013 by  

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.

Image Credit: Down the Hutong, Wiki Commons

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:

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About the Author

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus.

  • keef

    Comic strip about gun exchanges:

  • We need more incentives offered like this to encourage more environmentally friendly AND healthy behavior. I really like these kind of ideas.

  • bystander

    A TV interview in Uruguay last week shared both sides of the gun control debate. A telephone poll during and after the show showed that 88% judged that gun control measures would not be an effective way to reduce gun violence. Why? Gun control measures tend to take guns from law abiding citizens and reduce their ability to defend themselves, while allowing criminals to use guns without fear of repercussions. This has proven true in several US cities and in England, where guns were banned. Crime rates and homicides actually increase with the reduction or banning of guns.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ban those guns which are designed to kill lots of people in a hurry. They have no place in our country outside of the military.

      Then when we find a dirtbag possessing one we can throw their butts in jail and melt down their people-killer.

      This is not about banning all guns. It is about getting specially designed people-killers out of our lives.

      We protect ducks more than we protect our children. And that is simply not right.

    • science guru

      You are 100% correct but people are too blinded to face the facts. They have no clue what they are talking about, only repeating what they have been brainwashed and told to believe. Guns don’t kill, people do, duhh.

      • Bob_Wallace

        People with high capacity rapid fire weapons kill lots and lots of people.

        Are you comfortable in your support of making those sorts of weapons accessible to people who kill children?

  • cynthia shahan

    Just reading this title opened my heart a notch. Programs such as this are so bright. Things change, people change.

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