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Can we come up with a new and effective weapon to replace firearms?

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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi Dec 16, 2021
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Invent a new, effective weapon that works as fast as guns do, but isn't as fatal as them. This will serve as a prelude to banning firearms for everybody but elite forces.
The deadliness of firearms is something we are all familiar with, whether from personal experience or the media. For example, 3/4 of the murders that occured in the USA in 2017 involved firearms. 37% of firearm-related deaths in the same year were murders, while 60% were suicides.
Apart from the deadliness, they are also expensive and take quite a toll on the economy. Research by Mother Jones discovered that gun violence cost over $229 billion in 2012 alone. This estimate includes both direct and indirect costs. The cost of gun violence is so high it ranked third after the cost of smoking and Medicaid spending for that year.
However, despite the many problems associated with firearms, there is no denying its positives, especially for self-protection.
The Ask
Can we invent another weapon capable of stopping people in their tracks but less lethal than firearms. The idea is that, with such a weapon, there will be less of a reason for people to have guns and governments can severely restrict the manufacturing of firearms and ban them for everybody, even the average police officer, except the most elite groups like military and SWAT officers.
Can we ideate new weapons that can stop aggressive persons in their tracks within 2-3 seconds? This weapon should have bullet-like projectiles so people can use them from a distance.
Creative contributions

Alternatives to guns

Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Dec 17, 2021
I think guns are unfortunately something that will be here at least for a while more and likely will not be easily replaced anytime soon. Ideally speaking, I believe you are describing a weapon that immobolizes someone without causing any (major) harm. This website describes some alternatives, though not all of them are projectile based. Personally, I believe the best option we have right now would be a tazer. However, one of the options in the website called "The XREP" could be an even better option. It "fires plastic shells that each contain sharpened electrodes, a battery, a transmitter, and a microprocessor. When a shell hits the suspect, the electrodes are released and pierce through clothes and skin, releasing up to 50,000 volts of electricity for 20 seconds." (Seems to function similarly to black widow taser guns in the MCU)
That being said, it is really costly(1,000 for the launcher, $100 per round). If there was someway to streamline the production and cost process, it might be more effective and feasible.
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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi3 years ago
People have been trying to ban guns for decades, at least in the USA, with little to no success. I know trying to do that is an uphill task; hence, why I am advocating for the development of a less fatal alternative. If that existed, I don't think it'll be so hard to replace guns and phase them out of existence.
I really like the feature article you linked. Most of the alternatives listed there are viable but for the downsides. For example, the XREP you mentioned is too expensive, which means it won't be accessible to the average person. Some of the other options are good and while they cause pain, it might not be enough for immobilization, which is really what we are after.
If these downsides can be resolved, I think these weapons can be widely adopted, which will lay the foundation for what I hope we can do.
Do you have any ideas on how to resolve these downsides? I intend to do some brainstorming on them myself.
Thanks Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie3 years ago
Oguntola Tobi Hi, thanks for your reply! I agree, I think it is not easy to tackle the issue of immobolization without causing lethal physical harm. While I am no engineer or physicist, here are some ways perhaps we could focus for brainstorming:
  1. Incapacitation of the individual
  2. Incapacitation of the weapon
Incapacitation of the Individual
As previously mentioned, currently electricity is the most plausible and commonly form of immobolization. Interestingly, there are actually energy weapons which are in research and development that could be a better alternative to projectile based weapons. Alternatives such as the active denial system (ADS) and Pulsed energy projectiles or (PEP) employ radiation and lasers to immobolize the target. ADS projects electromagnetic radiation just powerful enough to penetrate human skin and make the victim feel as though they are on fire, although no physical damage is done while PEP upon contact with the target, ablates the surface and creates a small amount of exploding plasma, producing a pressure wave designed to stun the target and knock them off their feet. Acoustic devices are also considered though less popular. However, many of this laser based weapons require heavy machinery or a vehicle to be mounted and I think it will be awhile before it is streamlined into something more conventional and convienient.
Incapacitation of the Weapon
Personally, I think it makes more sense to incapacitate the weapon instead of the individual using it as it is not only safer but logical too. A person under distress or restraints still has the opportunity to harm themselves or others though it is minimized.
While, probably a long shot, I had the idea of using acid as a form of incapacitation. Perhaps, a capsule loaded with acid could be used to damage and hopefully dissolve and prevent the use of the gun. However, currently there is no acid strong enough to do that within seconds not to mention the risks of hurting the assailant as well.
Drones are also currently being researched on as a way to get close to the target without risking the life of the user aka police etc. Nonetheless, the weapon is still an active threat.
If there was some way, we could render the weapon useless(incapable of being fired), it would be the best way forward. I would suggest the brainstorming process to be along the lines of:
  1. Product that incapacitates weapon
  2. Streamline of production(Make it cheaper,less resources required)
Apologies as I am not too sure about the science parameters behind weapons and all. However, I do think Juranium has a point on how we should as a society reduce the power guns has on us. If you think about it, it has always been an arms race for our species, though mostly for us to "protect"/harm one another. This race will unlikely end as technology evolves. By creating more potent weapons(energy weapons), it will be likely the technology will be used for greater evil by terrorist, organisations etc. It will be a never-ending pursuit of power, I mean imagine if the atomic bomb was never conceptialized.
What do you think?
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An advanced tranquilizer gun

Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 17, 2021
I always thought that sedating a person/animal for a while is perhaps the best way to deal with the attacker. It gives you time to escape or (if necessary) tie up or otherwise incapacitate the attacker without injuring them.
Tranquillizer guns are used for this, but mostly for animals, since in the case of humans, it's complicated to determine in advance what dose of the tranquilizer would be enough to incapacitate the person but not too much to kill them. This depends on the mass of the person and their sensitivity to the drug, also, it takes some time for the drug to take effect on the body, so if it's a short distance threat, a tranquilizer gun might be ineffective. Therefore to be used with human targets such guns would need some smart improvement.
I liked the idea of a gun that induces the pain of a real gunshot wound caused by a bullet, presented in the movie Divergent (I couldn't find that scene to link here, sorry). The fear of being shot from such a gun would almost equal the fear of being shot from a real gun. Such an exact gun is in the realm of science-fiction, but the idea of inducing a strong localized pain in the area that was struck by the projectile is feasible. There are many substances that induce pain upon touch with the skin/bloodstream.
Therefore I have an idea of an upgraded pain-inducing tranquilizer gun that uses either a single substance inducing multiple effects or a mixture of substances that is injected by a syringe-dart projectile (we could also come up with an innovative design for a more efficient projectile). When the chemical(s) are injected, the immediate effect is the induction of strong localized pain in that body part. The drug(s) wouldn't have to reach CNS for this, so the pain would be immediate, it should also be strong enough to hold the person back or slow them down at least for a while, this would be enough for further effects to take place, be it paralysis, sedation or both.
I think paralytic agents could also work locally without reaching the brain, so the paralysis could spread from the part struck by a projectile further to other body parts increasingly disabling the person.
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Povilas S
Povilas S3 years ago
I will answer the concerns raised by Shubhankar Kulkarni, Oguntola Tobi, and Darryl Koh Yuan Jie here. I see people are missing the point of the contribution. I proposed upgrading a conventional tranquilizer gun to a level where it would be suitable for common defense situations and could be used on humans. I don't suggest simply using conventional tranquilizer guns as they are now.
To solve a delayed drug action problem of tranquilizer guns, I propose using pain-inducing substances together with sedatives/paralytic agents. Pain inducing substances can start acting locally, they don't need to reach CNS, many substances exist that induce pain upon touch even with the skin, if the skin/tissues are pierced the effect is even stronger, the locally induced pain has to be strong enough to stop or slow down the attacker for some time until sedating/paralyzing agents will start working.
I think paralytic agents can also start working locally, they could at least numb the part of the body struck by the dart projectile and slow down the person until sedation takes place. With some work, I think an effective system of gradual drug-induced incapacitation could be developed.
As for calculating the dose based on a person's body mass, there are two different ways I can come up with now how this could be solved. One is to use rather small doses of the chemicals and shoot more projectiles according to the effects on the attacker until it's enough. The dose of a pain-inducing substance could be large, cause there's (almost) no danger of killing the person with it. Strong pain has an incapacitating effect of its own.
Finally, the gun could be "smart" and produce the proper dose by scanning the person's image remotely, calculating the mass, and adapting the dose of the chemical mixture in the projectile. The adapting part could be done by squeezing the projectile syringe a bit from a very large dose to a smaller one which was calculated for that person and then shooting the projectile with the remaining liquid dose. However, such an automated process should be very quick, almost instant, in case the attacker is near.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Povilas S I support the use of tranquilizing guns instead of the regular ones or tazers because of the reasons already mentioned (regular guns are designed to kill, not incapacitate and tazers cannot be used over a long range). My concern is diametrically opposite to the current line of discussion. Incapacitating chemicals take a while to act on the body. The molecules need to travel to the right places in the body to incapacitate the person. In animals, it usually takes 5 to 10 minutes before they are neutralized, sometimes more. This can be a concern for the person using the tranquilizer gun. If the victim (person being shot with the tranquilizer) has a regular gun, they might shoot back and kill the well-intentioned person who is using the tranquilizer. We need something that causes immediate incapacitation, within 5 seconds (the lesser the better). On similar lines, the dosage in the tranquilizer bullet might not be sufficient to incapacitate a person. Multiple bullets might then be needed to incapacitate them. This combined with the waiting period (for the tranquilizer to act) is even more more dangerous for the tranquilizer shooter. How do they decide whether to shoot another bullet or wait for some time for the previous one to act, all the while worrying that the other person might shoot them with a real gun?
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 years ago
I rhink tazer guns do most of what you propose here. They transiently incapacitate the "victim" by locking up all their muscles with an electrical discharge. And from what I've heard it hurts quite a bit. This is great to diffuse violent situations without damaging anyone. However, their system is not ideal because they cannot shoot repeatedly, so maybe it could be improved. One more issue with taser guns is the possibility of generating heart attacks, which is low but present due to the high voltage delivered. However, the fact they use electricity instead of biomolecules reduces the possibilities of adverse or uncontrolled reactions, while making the effect faster which is crucial.
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Replacing firearms by making them useless

jnikola Dec 17, 2021
First, I want to greet your initiative to replace weapons, Oguntola Tobi. I agree that weapons present a huge economic burden for society. Honestly, I would be the happiest if it never existed and that's why replacing it with something new and effective is not something I would directly support. But, inspired by your thought of creating a weapon because of which there will be less of a reason for people to have guns, I will take this chance to present to you something I have been thinking about a lot since I read your session.
So, we need something that will:
  • make people give up on the existing weapons
  • reduce or stop its production
  • be a better, safer, and more effective "weapon"
To find more effective thing than weapon, we need to look at what do weapons are used for. Weapons are mostly used by police to make people follow the society rules. In most of the cases police officer will not fire, but just threat. The same usage of weapons can be seen in drug business, where weapons are the main threating device, with slightly higher rates of actual usage. Military uses weapons to establish order in places where people's opinion do not match with the policy maker plans. The conclusion is that weapons are mostly used to threat, make people obey or "escape" the problems (suicides). But words, beliefs and acts are what make us use the weapons.

What if we created a strong evidence of everything people do, increase the power of the word, make a persons thoughts and ideas immortal? Wait, we already did most of these.
I propose the in-depth usage of decentralized blockchain-based social media on satellite internet in all levels of society engagement. From everyday lives to important political decisions, I support transparent user profiles and activity history. Why?
The benefits
  • politicians would have to obey the transparency rules
  • the people would get a chance to understand and be involved in making decisions
  • when walking home alone, you would be able to turn on tracking and, for example, anyone in your close circle (5 m) would be tracked too
  • you could fight the regime by sharing the information with the world in one tap
  • the information would be reviewed by many third parties
The ultimate goal: to reduce the power of weapons and increase the power of every individual by increasing the power of the society

What do you think?
Am I going in right direction?
PS Sorry if I went in the other direction than what you proposed, but I honestly believe the weapons is becoming less efficient in solving the problems, especially in highly-educated and developed countries/societies.
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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi3 years ago
I don't think an apology is necessary, lol.
While I like your idea, as it will increase the power of individuals, I disagree with parts of it. For example, I don't think many people will entertain the idea of being tracked, even if it's for their safety. I know I wouldn't.
Also, the reason for an alternative to firearms is to give governments a justification to crack down on them across board, while ensuring people (including law-enforcement officers) still have a good way to protect themselves. This way, they will be able to severely restrict production and ensure nobody, apart from elite forces who will need them to put down the most violent criminals, have access to firearms.
With what you propose, I don't think that would be possible.
Because, while everybody else might be satisfied with having more power and being more involved in decision making, I doubt criminals would. And as long as criminals exist, people will always need a way to protect themselves.
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jnikola3 years ago
Oguntola Tobi Hehe I knew that someone would comment on the tracking. By using the web or your smartphone, you are probably being tracked by many third parties, but when I mention it as a possibility that could be turned on in case you feel afraid to walk alone on the dark street then it's the privacy issue. I agree it should be an optional feature for every user.
What you proposed in the session does not solve the problem of weapon production. You are basically suggesting new cheaper and more efficient weapons to be produced. How is that going to help crackdown on weapons, restrict production and ensure nobody has access to firearms? Wouldn't the weapons just become more creative?
I am offering a new type of weapon that is already there, just not polished enough.
Yes, my solution does not solve the issue of direct confronting in battles or protecting yourself from physical weapons. It is trying to make people more than just their bodies - to switch the value of every individual's life into his words, actions, and his voice on the decentralized web. That way, murder or killing would not solve problems but ignite them. Yes, people in the drug business would still be using firearms, but eventually, many of them would be found and convicted, due to increased public safety and privacy measures.
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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi3 years ago
Juranium I couldn't resist, lol.
  • On the issue of tracking, I hardly ever have my device's location on unless it is essential to something I'm trying to do, like maps. I also use DuckDuckGo and Tor sometimes. I believe there are many people like me. And while our fear might not be entirely rational, the semblance that we have a measure of control over our privacy does great wonders for our safe we feel. Regardless, I doubt the volume of tracking currently happening will compare to that which will happen if we legalize something like what you propose. Most people will agree that is not a good thing.
  • No, my suggestion does not solve the problem of weapon production. What it does is propose a way to ensure one of the most deadliest weapons in history is not readily accessible. More creative weapons would probably be welcome, as long as they are not fatal.
  • And while criminals will eventually be found and convicted, what about those periods where they are free to do what they want? How do we protect ourselves then?
I hope you understand where I'm coming from.
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General comments

Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Tranquilizer handgun

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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi3 years ago
Darko Savic I had this trail of thought. So, I went on the internet to find out how feasible the idea is and the answer is it's not very feasible. This thread on Quora explains it better than I ever could as does this blog post.
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