Weapons

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  • Weapons: A comprehensive term for all instruments of offensive or defensive combat, including items used in injuring a person. The term weapons includes numerous items that can cause death or injury, including firearms, explosives, chemicals, and nuclear material. Because weapons pose a danger to the safety and well-being of individuals.
  • The more one studies nuclear weapons, the more the historical fact that presidents haven’t used them seems luck rather than strategy. As he was leaving office, Dwight Eisenhower said he was most.

Weapons

A comprehensive term for all instruments of offensive or defensive combat, including items used in injuring a person.

The term weapons includes numerous items that can cause death or injury, including firearms, explosives, chemicals, and nuclear material. Because weapons pose a danger to the safety and well-being of individuals and communities, federal, state, and local statutes regulate the possession and use of weapons.

A dangerous or deadly weapon is one that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm. A handgun, a hand grenade, or a long knife are examples of deadly weapons. A weapon capable of causing death is, however, not necessarily a weapon likely to produce death. For example, an ordinary penknife is capable of causing death, but it is not considered a deadly weapon.

The regulation of firearms in the United States has proved controversial. Opponents of Gun Control argue that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes the right to bear arms an inherent and inalienable right. Nevertheless, federal and state laws regulate who may own firearms and impose other conditions on their use. The passage in 1993 of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 921 et seq.) was the first major federal gun control law. The Brady Act bars felons and selected others from buying handguns, establishes a five-day waiting period for purchase, requires the local police to run background checks on handgun buyers, and mandates the development of a federal computer database for instant background checks.

The 1994 federal crime bill addressed deadly weapons used by criminals. The law (108 Stat. 1796) banned nineteen assault-type firearms and other firearms with similar characteristics. It limited the magazine capacity of guns and rifles to ten rounds, but exempted firearms, guns, and magazines that were legally owned when the law went into effect.

The deadliness of chemical explosives was demonstrated by the April 1995 bombing of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In response, Congress passed the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. (P.L. 104-132). The act increases the penalties for conspiracies involving explosives and for the possession of nuclear materials, criminalizes the use of chemical weapons, and requires plastic explosives to contain 'tagging' elements in the explosive materials for detection and identification purposes.

Unless proscribed by statute, possessing or carrying a weapon is not a crime, nor does it constitute a breach of the peace. However, most states make it a crime to carry a prohibited or concealed weapon. The term concealed means hidden, screened, or covered. The usual test for determining whether a weapon is concealed is whether the weapon is hidden from the general view of individuals who are in full view of the accused and close enough to see the weapon if it were not hidden. If the surface of a weapon is covered, the fact that its outline is distinguishable and recognizable as a weapon does not prevent it from being illegally concealed. In addition, most states have enacted laws mandating longer prison terms if a firearm was used in the commission of the crime.

Law enforcement officers who must carry weapons in order to perform their official duties ordinarily are exempted from statutes governing weapons. Private citizens may apply to the local police department for a permit to carry a firearm. Permits are generally granted if the person carries large sums of money or valuables in his or her business, or can demonstrate a particular need for personal protection.

Cross-references

Weapons 5e

Deadly Force; Self-Defense.

Weapons Are Part Of My Religion

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
WeaponsWeapons

Weapons Universe

  • Depth charge

    Depth charges were first developed by the Royal Navy during World War I to combat German submarines.

  • Military aircraft

    World War I was a crucible for military aircraft development. Between 1914 and 1918, planes advanced from barely airworthy craft to effective weapons platforms.

  • Rifle

    Infantry weapons underwent a massive change in the late 19th century, as repeating rifles entered widespread use. The World War I infantryman could produce a volume of fire that dwarfed that of his mid-19th-century predecessors.

  • Zeppelin

    German airships achieved moderate success in long-range bombing operations, as Zeppelins could attain higher altitudes than the airplanes of the era.

  • Chemical weapons

    Chemical weapons, such as diphosgene and mustard gas, were employed extensively on the Western Front.

  • Artillery

    Artillery literally shaped the battlefield in World War I. It ranged in size from the French 75-mm field gun to the massive 420-mm Big Bertha and the 210-mm Paris Gun.

  • Cavalry

    Despite the advances in technology, cavalry retained a significant role in World War I, and horses died by the millions in the conflict.

  • Battleship

    The age of the battleship reached its apotheosis in World War I, as even the Dreadnought, the archetypal 'big-gun' ship, found itself outgunned. Super dreadnoughts, such as the HMS Orion, ruled the waves; their reign was short, however, as developments in naval aviation would soon render such ships obsolete.

  • Machine gun

    Machine guns were an exceptionally lethal addition to the battlefield in World War I. Heavy guns, such as the Maxim and Hotchkiss, made “no man's land” a killing zone, and Isaac Newton Lewis's light machine gun saw widespread use at the squad level and as an aircraft armament.

  • Tank

    Tanks were used primarily in a supporting role. The armoured vehicle would not truly come into its own until the doctrines of J.F.C. Fuller and Basil Liddell Hart were more widely adopted in World War II.

  • Unexploded ordnance

    The French government estimates that millions of unexploded shells from World War I remain buried or undiscovered in the French countryside. Every year, bomb-clearing units remove more than 40 tons of unexploded munitions from the Verdun area alone.