What Are Firearms?
What are firearms? Frequently, when asked this question a person will immediately assume that the answer involves guns. And indeed they are related to guns but much more. A firearm is any kind of weapon designed to be easily carried and utilized by an individual for a particular purpose. The word is further defined in various countries as a thing used or worn for self-defense.
In addition firearms can take several other forms. These include both single shot and double barrel guns. The former are typically used to fire a single shot (like a rifle) from a further distance; and the latter are known as repeating firearms. A gun may also be considered a pistol, or even a shotgun.
Although it has long been known that firearms can cause death or injury, determining exactly which kind of deadly damage these firearms cause is extremely difficult to establish. For example, what is meant by a gun “smoke” is not always clearly defined either. Various studies have determined that smoking does contribute to lung cancer, but what other effects this may not have is largely disputed. This is because while smoking generally causes damage to various parts of the lungs, specific types of smoke such as carbon monoxide do not, even with long term exposure.
What are firearms if not used for self defense? A firearm in the legal definition above is any “firearms” that can be discharged publicly. While this includes cases where a gun is displayed or carried (like in an offensive weapon law case), it also includes a gun that is kept inside a vehicle, or even a hand gun carried in a belt holster on a belt strap. This means that in the eyes of the law any gun (including a knife or other pointed object) that is in circulation is a firearm. This can potentially extend to include toy guns and airsoft guns.
However, what are firearms to a non-law enforcement officer? In general a firearm can only be discharged upon the strictest of circumstances. These will include, if the gun is used in a crime or if the gun is used against oneself (self-defense). This is why it is so important to understand all of the variables of the law when you are buying, possessing, or using a firearm.
So, what are firearms? The bottom line is that they are any tool or equipment that can be legally possessed to use for, defense, or recreation of some sort. With this in mind it is easy to see why the question “what are firearms?” can become complicated. However, with a little homework as well as common sense, the answers should be clear.