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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 ?
The TSA officer detected the loaded 9 mm firearm with seven rounds, when the passenger's carry-on bag was being screened in the X-ray machine.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) reported 245 firearms stolen during the 2018/2019 financial year and 56 firearms during the first quarter of the current financial year.
Despite the rise in firearm offences, the UK has some of the strictest laws in the world.
The agency said the firearm parts, which included sights, stocks, muzzles, brakes and buffer kits, arrived in three separate shipments from China.
The researchers observed a unique correlation for state-level firearm ownership with domestic (incidence rate ratio, 1.013; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.008 to 1.018) but not nondomestic (incidence rate ratio, 1.002; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.996 to 1.008) firearm homicide rates; the pattern was seen for male and female victims.
Their first replica of Colt's 1851 Navy black-powder revolver gained a foothold among American merchants, and led to award-winning replicas of other popular Old West firearms.
Bernard Banac, police spokesperson, said they sent a notice to Tulfo's last known address to surrender the firearms as the License to Own and Possess Firearms has already expired.
He says has been vetted and cleared multiple times and has never been nor is he currently accused of any violations of use of the firearm under the Firearm Act.
related bond may be required by the Firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP.
"California's comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies and firearm mortality" was published in the October 2018 Annals of Epidemiology and conducted by the Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) at UC Davis and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and compared firearm homicide and suicide rates in California over a decade following enactment of comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies.
"We won't extend the deadline and we shall take legal measures against those who do not turn up for vetting," Dr Matiang'i said about the ongoing exercise, adding: "All private firearm holders in the country must be registered afresh by March 18."Already, the Firearm Licensing and Control Board has developed a microchip card that will have all the details of a firearm holder and which will replace the age-old certificate introduced in the 1950s.So shady was the licensing, previously run by police, that the country did not even have a credible gun register.