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device consisting essentially of a straight tube to propel shot, shell, or bullets by the explosion of gunpowdergunpowder,
explosive mixture; its most common formula, called "black powder," is a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and carbon in the form of charcoal. Historically, the relative amounts of the components have varied.
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. Although the Chinese discovered gunpowder as early as the 9th cent., they did not develop firearms until the mid-14th cent. By that time, firearms, particularly in the form of heavy cannon, were in general use in Europe and Asia Minor. With such firearms, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople. From the 15th cent., when the matchlock appeared, to the end of the U.S. Civil War, firearms became increasingly important in battle, and military tactics had to adapt constantly to successive improvements in their design. The early matchlocks, which depended on a lit match for firing the gunpowder, were supplanted first by flintlocks (perfected at the turn of the 17th cent.) that used a striking flint for firing, and then by various breach-loading firearms (perfected in the middle of the 19th cent.), which used bullets fitted with shells full of gunpowder that was ignited by the impact of a firing pin. In the 15th cent. firearms also came into use in huntinghunting,
act of seeking, following, and killing wild animals for consumption or display. It differs from fishing in that it involves only land animals. Hunting was a necessary activity of early humans.
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. Firearms were spread throughout the world during the period of European expansion. In some areas they were rapidly integrated into the existing culture and economy. Firearms are generally classified either as large firearms, i.e., artilleryartillery,
originally meant any large weaponry (including such ancient engines of war as catapults and battering rams) or war material, but later applied only to heavy firearms as opposed to small arms.
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, or as small armssmall arms,
firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms

The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent.
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a weapon in which the energy of the chemical decomposition of an explosive (for example, gunpowder) is used to propel a bullet (projectile) from the barrel. Modern firearms are divided into artillery guns (such as howitzers, cannon, mortars, and recoilless weapons), which are designed to destroy targets at considerable distances or in concealment, and small arms (such as pistols, submachine guns, rifles, and machine guns), which are designed for destroying targets deployed in the open.


In a general sense, a gun.
A small arm, as a pistol or rifle, designed to be carried and used by an individual.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Secretary of State's Office ruled that the owner-operators of several gun stores where signatures were being collected should not be considered paid signature gatherers under election law.
My gun store friends at DeGoff's Firearms in Mechanicsville, Va.
CHICAGO -- Forced by court order to allow long-banned gun stores to open in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday introduced an ordinance that is so strict and so dramatically limits where the stores can operate that critics say it is little more than a continuation of the city's longtime ban.
You can't do this with firearms unless you own a range adjacent to your gun store.
The Connecticut gun store owner said he had been cooperating with investigators and expressed sadness over the shootings.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took 26 lives, Crocket Keller of Kellers Riverside Gun Store in Austin is offering a special deal for teachers to get a Concealed Handgun License.
To reach the ground or the Gun Store, one has to walk down quite a distance from the main gate if you don't have a vehicle.
In order to stop dangerous criminals from firing the bullets that kill people, we must be proactive and ensure the public safety by catching these criminals at the gun store for purchasing ammunition before we catch them on the streets for murdering Californians.
So in 2006 he sent private eyes to entrap gun store operators in five other states.
Burns titled--brace yourself--"Sex education belongs in the gun store.
One gun store sold over 100 shotguns on Wednesday alone.
Require enhanced security plans at gun stores and annual training and testing of gun store employees;