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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 ?
Filing of this lawsuit is the latest addition to Pfleger's theatrical repertoire which has included attempted storming of gun shops and wild-eyed calls for the "snuffing" of gun shop owners and pro-gun politicians.
A few years ago, a Smith & Wesson collector visited a large, high-volume gun shop and while cruising the showcases, saw two old S&Ws marked "K-22.
A good source for older Rossi parts is Bob's Gun Shop, Box 200, Dept.
Over 15 days between February and July 2010 he and two friends bought 81 guns (79 handguns, a rifle and a shotgun) from stores such as Perry's Gun Shop, Carolina Shooters Supplies, the Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center, Jim's Gun Shop, Eagle Guns, Village Pawn & Gun Shop and Sovereign Police Supply.
The flyers demanded that gun clubs and gun shops submit a law-abiding gun owner's information to the FBI's Terrorism Joint Task Force if a gun buyer had an "altered appearance from visit to visit (beard shaved off, hair color changed, etc.
He added that the issuing of gun licenses is on hold at present until gun shops open.
It amazes me still that the owner of a gun shop carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory would allow some cretin to insult or simply ignore a potential customer in an industry that is so very dependant upon word of mouth, and is such a tight social fraternity.
He said: "It was full of ridiculous suggestions, saying things like all gun shops must have blacked-out windows, as if we were porn shops.
The associations of gunsmiths, gun shops, hunters and shooters are not powerful enough to influence the politicians.
This is the first evidence that says it's quite easy for a felon to walk into a gun shop and buy ammunition,'' said Greg Ridgeway, associate director for safety and justice for Rand.
Yet just four months later an investigation by The People shows that many gun shops are already flouting them.
Supreme Court validates the concerns of millions of American citizens who have been rushing to gun shops for the past seven months, fearing their Second Amendment rights are in jeopardy, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.