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Is an armed society a civil or uncivil society?

Author Robert Heinlein famously said that "An armed society is a polite society." Many liberals, however, fear an armed society as barbaric and violent. Is widespread ownership and/or carry of arms a positive or a negative feature of a society?

Trey Peden , 17.12.2012, 16:26
Idea status: completed

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DianaHsieh, 31.12.2012, 21:00
Here's the original question, which I've restructured... but I think it has the same substance:

Philosophers over at the NYT are publishing "a series of essays this week that examine the ethical, social and humanitarian implications on the use, possession and regulation of weapons."

The first essay is here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/the-freedom-of-an-armed-society/

What are your thoughts on an "armed society?" Why is it a good or a bad thing to own guns? Is there any difference between owning a handgun vs a shotgun vs an assault rifle in your mind?

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