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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 ?
Even in a still-male-dominated business, Ukiah Gun Shop and Harry Beckwith's Gun Shop have flourished after earning a 30 percent female customer base.
The FBI flyer was clear that the fact that the gun buyer was an innocent, law-abiding citizen was no excuse for a gun shop not to send the gun records to the FBI: "Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals," the flyer demanded.
According to recent Interior Ministry rules, prospective gun shop owners should be at least 25 years old with no criminal records and in possession of a bank guarantee of SR500,000.
When Colombian intelligence officials seized a trove of assault rifles headed to the rebel group, ATF agents helped traced them to gun shops in Miami.
In another incident, two gunmen entered a pawn and gun shop in Arkansas (Dec.
We must make a commitment to support our local gun shops and follow through on that commitment by giving them our business.
Incredibly," he said in a news conference, "while those 18to-20-year-olds cannot legally buy a beer, cannot purchase a bottle of wine, they can walk into any gun shop, pawn shop or gun show in America and buy a handgun.
It's not surprising schools and cafes are seen as the antithesis of gun shops.
The rebates would return a total of $425,000 to arcades, dance halls, gun shops, pawnbrokers and other businesses whose permit renewal fees were hiked in November, some by as much as 1,000 percent.
While most of the firearms training offered to law-abiding citizens comes from instructors who are strictly training providers, some retail gun shops have found sponsoring training provides a new stream of cash flow in the form of student tuition.
However, council members did not extend the relief to gun shops, which still will owe $2,000 by Dec.
When the time comes, the elderly--or the people listed in their last will and testament as their "heirs and assigns"--will take old guns from the inherited estate to gun shops like yours and ask, "What can I get for this?