A firearm can be defined as a device that can or is used to projects one or more high speed projectiles usually by means of a controlled explosion. The firing action is through a process called deflagration or simply rapid burning of a propellant found in the device. Modern firearms, unlike older ones use smokeless powder as its main form of propellant and have rifled barrels which serve to improve on their firing stability (Kohn, 2004, 16). Mostly firearms are used as weapons but some can be used as tools especially works which need explosive actions for execution.
Firearms range from arms like rifles, carbines, pistols and automatic guns to other more destructive crude or sophisticated weapons. Often a firearm is seen not as a weapon but a platform for the weapon while the projectile itself is taken as the weapon. This is because the projectile or bullet is the one that is fired but the firearm just holds the propellant. However in cases of close attack, the firearm itself can be used as a weapon and a good example by directly striking the attacker with the guns barrel.
Ammunition is any application or use of weapons by a person. Ammunition is actually the weapon held by the firearm. They include the propellants and any other form of explosives used in firearms and war fights. Ammunitions range from small arm propellants to terminally guided munitions. The design of different types of ammunitions is determined by their purpose. Some are made to explode inside the target to ensure maximum damage while others to explode outside the target to increase their effective area of impact.
Piling of incomplete propellant combustion and other ammunition residues in the firing chambers is one of the major problems in firearms since they can interfere with its internal functioning (Edel, 1995, 28). This calls for frequent servicing of regularly used arms for guaranteed reliability. Firearms vary in shape, number of barrels and their projection ranges. Different types of firearms. Hand gun: This is the smallest arm commonly called a pistol. They can be single-shot, revolvers or semi-automatic. Their difference is in the number of bullets it can fire in one trigger and the number of firing chambers it has.
A single-shot pistol can only fire once per trigger while the semi-automatic one can fire more than one round as it contains a removable magazine in its firing chamber. Once fired, the automatic pistol automatically extracts the used cartridge and reloads a fresh one from the magazine ready for the next round of firing hence their other name autoloader guns 9Kates, Gary, 2007, 322). On the other hand, the revolver has many firing chambers each loaded with a cartridge which allows for multiple firing. The firing range of a piston is usually limited to about 50 meters with a projectile size limit of approximately 15 mm.
Long guns: This classification includes the rifles and the shotguns which have a firing range from 150 meters to 600 meters depending on the type of sight used. Optical sight is more accurate and can project long distances (up to 600 meters). Some specially built on purpose rifles can accurately fire up to 2 kilometers. The main difference between a rifle and a shot gun is that rifles have a smaller impact area but highly accurate long range ability compared to the shot gun. Long gun mainly find their use in business and homestead defense and sometimes in hunting.
Long guns come in different type based on their method of reloading (Kates, Gary, 2007, 326). They are mainly manually reloaded but there can also be automatic as is in the case of automatic rifles. Automatic weapon: These forms of arms are capable of firing many rounds for just one pull of the trigger. This type of firearm is mainly for use in military and paramilitary organizations. However these designs have been commonly known to be used by well organized gang in their crimes due to their massive clearing ability. This has called for restriction in their distribution.
Allowance to use other than in the military is given to film actors but under strict supervision by permitted holders of the arms. Machine guns: These are fully automated weapon which use mainly but not always belt –fed ammunitions. This distinguishes them from other forms of ammunitions. In modern technology, the guns can be operated by one person and they have a large capacity for ammunition. Due to the fact that they can fire many shots by a single trigger without reloading, they have found much use in wars (Kates, Gary, 2007, 330).
Another class of firearms is the sub machine gun commonly referred to as machine pistol which has the advantage of its small size. They are commonly used by military for close distance engagement since they have limited penetration strength and are small in size. Firearms and ammunition as known were developed as a means for enhancing security in the society. This is evident by the fact that all security forces in a given country are usually equipped with firearms especially when on duty. Guns are a common tool used by regular police in their day to day duties.
Under licensed conditions, some individuals in the society own firearms for personal defense. The licensing terms and regulations however vary from one country to another (Kohn, 2004, 45) The military is the back bone of a country’s defense. It is in this view that all military forces are always equipped with the necessary firearms and ammunitions for efficiency. This is evident by the large budget allocated by each country on security. A good example is the large amount given to the US department of defense to oversee the development of new and more effective defensive tools for the good of the country.
Firearms have been known to be used by gang groups in their crime activities. This has been and still is one of the forms of arms misuse which has raised concern in the whole world. Many fights within members of a given country for political or ethic reasons has been worsened by the availability of illegal firearms. Wars like witnessed in Somalia and Sudan among many other countries has escalated due to the accessibility to firearms. The effect of destructive ammunitions like bombs has also been felt in many countries.
An example of this is the Pentagon house bomb attacks in the United States of America which is believed to have been done by the Osama terrorist group. This is just an example of the destructions which can be brought in the event of arms misuse. The US attack on the Afghanistan and Iraq for example shows both the good and bad part of firearms and ammunition (Edel, 1995, 76). Because of the attack, both criminals and innocent citizens were affected. Many lost their life or were displaced innocently.
But on the other side the attack help crack down the terror group hence consequently enhancing the security of the world. Since most of the crimes in the world today are effected using firearms and ammunitions, it calls for swift measures in the fight against illegal ownership of firearms. The regulation and licensing of firearms should always aim to ensure guaranteed safety of both the holder and the other people. The goal should be to ensure that guns and other forms of firearms are held by the right people and used for the right purpose.
Due to the harm caused by unregulated production and supply of firearms and ammunitions, it is clear that there is need for clear firearm handling as well as production and distribution policies to ensure safety of the people and hence enforce the very aim for the their existence (Edel, 1995, 108). The main goal here should be to prevent any form of accidental or purposeful misuse of firearms. Most of the existing laws on firearms limit the sale to or production by a prohibited person. Importation or manufacture and sale of ammunition are should only be limited to the authorized quarters of the respective country.
Due to the increase in the illegal use and possession of firearms and ammunitions, much steeper rules should be put in place for dealing with this kind of dangerous law breakers. Though firearms and ammunitions were made to improve on the standards and security of life, the current trade on the misuse of such arms is proving to be a real threat to the security of the world. Conclusion Having seen the positive and negative sides of possession and use of firearms and ammunition, it is clear that illegal possession is a threat to the security of all.
New and steeper rules and regulations should be put in place to improve on the secure use of arms. Arms trafficking are illegal and dealers in this are a threat to humanity. They should face the full force of the law. Many have lost lives or are living in fear of attacks due to lack of proper enforcement of the existing arms regulation laws. This calls for improvement in the law enforcing agents to guarantee safety for all. Formulation of new laws without first effectively enforcing the existing one could be a waste of time.
Nations need to come together with undivided effort to win this fight and ensure arms are used for their inventors intended purpose. Works Cited Edel, Wilbur. Gun Control: Threat to Liberty or Defense against Anarchy? Mahwah, NJ: Praeger, 1995 Kates, Don & Gary Mauser. Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 30, 2007; pp. 318-334 Kohn, Abigail. Shooters: Myths and Realities of America’s Gun Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004