Guns are one of the major inventions that have changed the course of human history. Experts see their research field more important than anything else. In that sense, pens or brushes might have played a greater role than guns. However, I would choose guns over them.
Guns have not only changed the way of fighting on the battlefield but broken the barrier of social status hierarchy that had existed during war. In fact, only three weeks of training strengthened troops while it took 10 to 20 years to nurture knights and warriors.
Modern democracy was established by various factors. Many overlook the role of status barriers in war. Humans were not forced to create a community and assign authority to some among them. They decided to follow those in authority based on needs arising in their community. The priority was to protect their security and property.
Male lions fight to get greater control than others. The loser has to leave his group as it has proved that he is not capable of safeguarding security. It might have been because many European royal families and lords including the British royal family chose a lion-drawn crest with an understanding of the attributes of authority. Noblesse oblige that we value did not come from lofty ideals but derived from the self-realization that those in power lose their place and they should leave their community just as male lions do.
Likewise, authority and privilege were rendered legitimate for the sake of responsibility for protection. Then, guns allowed the masses to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, humans, the creature of cleverness, founded ways to avoid the fate of lions. That comes down to a state. States and bureaucracy allowed for methods of avoiding accountability. When war broke out, kings and civil officials were able to maintain their power even though they ran out of the state. Only generals and troops were to blame. As states developed at earlier times, humans realized such clever tactics too early. Having said that, we cannot turn the clock back to feudalism. Then, should we consider bring the line crest back to us?