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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 ?
Galvez made the call after Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar turned over 157 unlicensed firearms surrendered by village watchmen also yesterday.
Under sections 1 and 2 of the 1968 Firearms Act, it is an offence for a person "to have in their possession or to purchase or acquire" a firearm or ammunition without holding the appropriate certificate.
Firearms in checked baggage must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container.
Under existing laws, an individual who wishes to own a firearm must secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF), permit to carry firearms outside of residence or place of business (PTCFOR), and registration of firearms, and must renew these documents every two years, one year, and four years, respectively.
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.
Tragically, the weapon used in the majority of intimate partner homicides is a firearm and abusers who possess firearms are 5 to 8 times more likely to kill their victims than those who do not have firearms.
It turns out he has the documents for the firearms but they are expired,' Merdegia said, adding that they lapsed in 2012.
The many firearms safety educational programs sponsored by the firearms industry and firearms safety instructors nationwide, such as the NSSF's Project ChildSafe, are also part of the reason for this ever-downward trend in firearms accidents," said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president, CEO.
The trust should make specific references to an intent of complying with not only the Gun Control Act, but also the National Firearms Act.
The Chief Constable's report revealed that since January 1 this year there have been 88 firearm warrants executed in the West Midlands with 13 removing firearms from criminals.
In 2015, two boys aged 17 and 16, were charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of a loaded/ unloaded firearm and suitable ammunition in a public place.
During the financial year 2013/2014 Cleveland Police carried firearms to 151 incidents.