Probably the earliest weapon control debate in history:
(my translation from Ancient Chinese, 《资治通鉴·卷第十九·世宗孝武皇帝中之上》)
Prime Minister Gongsun Hong (200BC-121BC) to Emperor Wu of Han (156BC-87BC): "Ten thieves with bows at full draw will stop a hundred law enforcement officers. I request for your mandate that people not have bows and arches for the sake of public safety."
Minister Wuqiu Shouwang: "I am told that ancient people made five weapons not to hurt each other but to stop violence and punish evils. The Qin Kingdom (9th century BC–206 BC) annexed the world, destroyed weapons, and broke knives and swords. Afterward, people attacked each other with hoes and sticks. There were increasingly more criminals, and thieves and burglars were no way to be prevented. The Kingdom came to an end as a result of nationwide unrest. Therefore, a wise king ought to cultivate people and lessen restriction and prevention, which he knows is not to rely on... I have heard that a wise king shoots arrows to edify the people but have not heard of ban on bows and arrows. Furthermore, what are banned are what the thieves and burglars use for attack and robbery. The punishment for crimes of attack and robbery is death. But the reason for no less of those crimes committed is that the big thugs do not fear severe punishment. I'm afraid bad people will carry bows and arrows and law enforcement officers cannot stop them, and ordinary people will break the law by self-defense with bows and arrows. This is to promote bad people's prestige and to deprive good people of defense."
Emperor Wu posed Minister Wuqiu's argument to Prime Minister Gongsun, who yielded.
To my Miscellaneous Page