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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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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


In a general sense, a gun.
A small arm, as a pistol or rifle, designed to be carried and used by an individual.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Welcoming the surrendered weapons, Chief Inspector Dave Gould said: "I am really encouraged by the response from the public who have taken this opportunity where they can safely and anonymously hand in firearms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, when the defendant appears at first advisement he/she is put on notice, as required by Colorado statute, that due to the mandatory protection order there will be a hearing at the next court date to determine whether or not he/she will be required to relinquish all firearms and ammunition.
In order to properly accomplish its purposes, the gun trust should have successor trustees listed whom are eligible to own firearms themselves, in accordance with the Gun Control Act.
Surprisingly, Americans, who make up only four per cent of the global population, own 40 per cent of the worlds firearms. Gun ownership rates vary across the world, with 121 firearms for every 100 residents in the United States compared to 53 in Yemen, 39 in Montenegro, and 35 in Canada.
James Bennett, 24, from Arnold Grove, in Wavertree, was charged with: Conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life/ enable another to do so; conspiracy to possess prohibited firearms; conspiracy to possess ammunition; and conspiracy to transfer prohibited firearms.
Marcel Velloza, 19 and from Tithebarn Road in Prescot, was charged with: Conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life / enable another to do so; Conspiracy to possess prohibited firearms; Conspiracy to possess ammunition without a certificate; and Conspiracy to Transfer prohibited Firearms.
A far better alternative to locking individual firearms is securing them in a firearm safe or cabinet.
A court ruling in another state indicates that the state does not have a "clear public policy" of allowing employees to possess firearms on the premises of their private employers.
The Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Kabiru, told newsmen in BirninKebbi on Friday that the gesture was to curb the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition throughout the state.
However, according to the Home Office, more than 700,000 firearm owners live in England and Wales and more than one million firearms and shotguns have certificates.
Firearms are taxed differently than their unserialized components, and the legal transfer of these items is handled very differently.
Here, given the quantity of firearms stolen, the location in which they were found, the relationship between Evans and Butts, their membership in a gang, and the photos of them displaying gang signs, the evidence was sufficient to support the lower court's conclusion that Evans had reason to believe his conduct would result in the firearms going to someone who intended to use or dispose of them unlawfully.